Recent legislation (S.B. 2718) introduced by U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) has called for energy drink guidelines as part of a wider initiative to ensure children’s safety in athletics. According to a September 8, 2014, press release, the Supporting Athletes, Families and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth Act (SAFE PLAY Act) combines previous legislative efforts to address “concussions, cardiac arrests, heatrelated illness, and consumption of energy drinks.”
The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to (i) “develop information about the ingredients used in energy drinks and the potential side effects of energy drink consumption,” and (ii) “recommend guidelines for the safe use of energy drink consumption by youth, including youth participating in athletic activities.” Although the proposed guidelines would cover all liquid dietary supplements and beverages that contain caffeine and taurine, guarana, ginseng, B vitamins, or any other ingredient “added for the express purpose of providing physical or mental energy,” the bill stops short of providing FDA with the authority to regulate the marketing and sale of energy drinks on school campuses.
“As we encourage our children to be healthy athletes, we must also do everything possible to protect them as they participate in sports,” Pascrell was quoted as saying. “It’s imperative that our coaches, trainers, parents and athletes have the necessary tools to ensure the safety of our youngest athletes on the playing field.” See Sen. Menendez and Rep. Pascrell Press Releases, September 8, 2014.