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Scientists call for caffeine rules

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

FDA should regulate labeling and composition of energy drinks, including requiring caffeine content statements, according to an Oct. 7 letter to the agency signed by 98 scientists and physicians with expertise in caffeine, pharmacology and drug abuse. The letter also recommends FDA "replace the current, unenforced 0.02 percent caffeine limit" on soft drinks "with a higher limit that is actually enforced," and mandate warning labels for energy drinks comparable to those used for OTC caffeine products. Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine encourages FDA officials to read the peer-reviewed publication, "Caffeinated energy drinks - A growing problem," and take action in light of the introduction of alcoholic energy drinks such as MillerCoors' Sparks (1"The Tan Sheet" Sept. 29, 2008, In Brief and 2"The Tan Sheet" Sept. 15, 2008, In Brief)

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Caffeinated energy drinks should warn about potential health risks and identify caffeine content levels, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore say Sept. 24. "It's notable that over-the-counter caffeine-containing products require warning labels, yet energy drinks do not" because, as dietary supplements, they are not held to FDA's caffeine limit for soft drinks of 71 mg per 12 oz., says Chad Reissig, one of the authors of "Caffeinated energy drinks - A growing problem," published online Sept. 21 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Some industry experts encourage energy drink marketers to add responsible labeling to their products before FDA mandates it (1"The Tan Sheet" Sept. 8, 2008, p. 11)

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