Health Canada to Regulate Caffeinated Energy Drinks as Food Products

October 24, 2011

Food product classification will usher in new requirements for these products.

Health Canada, Canada’s equivalent to FDA, has announced a proposal to regulate caffeinated energy drinks as food products, according to regulatory specialist Dicentra Inc. (Toronto). The beverages are currently classified as natural health products, which bars them from certain nutritional labeling requirements.

Energy shots will continue to be regulated as natural health products.

Under the new proposal, caffeinated energy drinks will no longer require product or site licensing, limited health claims will be available, and tighter regulations will be applied to permissible ingredients and added caffeine.

Nutritional facts panels for related products will also require full compliance with the country’s established food labeling rules, including allergen labeling. Since Canadian regulations do not permit “food products” to contain added vitamins, minerals, or amino acids, Health Canada plans to establish types and levels of ingredients that can be legally added in caffeinated energy drinks.

The proposal also calls for a cap on caffeine at 100 mg per 250 ml of liquid, not to exceed 180 mg for any single-serving container. The following caffeine labeling requirements are also part of the drafted language:

  • “Do not mix with alcohol”

  • “High source of caffeine” (when applicable)

  • “Not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and individuals sensitive to caffeine”

Once products are deemed eligible to be reclassified, companies will be subject to data collection relating to product consumption, consumer complaints, health effects, and market share while Health Canada will continue to evaluate its approach.

Health Canada is offering a transition period of 18-to-24 months for affected companies. Interested parties will have until November 15 to submit comments on the proposal, via email or postal mail to:

Bureau of Policy, Regulatory and Governmental Affairs

251 Sir Frederick Banting Driveway

Tunney’s Pasture, PL: 2202E

Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 0L2

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