Health Canada recently announced new measures that would reclassify energy drinks as food instead of a natural health product (NHP), thus requiring each can to bear a nutritional facts table. According to an October 6, 2011, press release, the new rules would also direct energy drink manufacturers to (i) limit caffeine content to 180 milligrams per single serving; (ii) indicate caffeine amounts on product labels and identify groups, such as children, “for whom high levels of caffeine are not recommended”; (iii) declare ingredients, nutrition and allergens; (iv) ensure that “types and levels of vitamins and minerals are within safe levels”; and (v) warn consumers not to mix the product with alcohol.

The proposed approach would bring energy drinks under the purview of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, while compelling producers to report any consumer complaints to Health Canada as well as submit information about consumption and sales. The agency intends to work with industry to complete the transition over the next six months, with compliance expected within 18 to 24 months.

“I firmly believe that it’s up to individuals and parents to make their own decisions when it comes to what they eat and drink,” Canadian Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq said of the proposal, which more closely reflects the system used in the United States. “I believe today’s changes will be especially helpful to the parents of teenagers who regularly consume energy drinks.”