On the heels of a November action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to declare caffeine added to energy drinks as an “unsafe food additive,” Kentucky lawmakers may consider a ban on sales of caffeniated energy drinks to anyone under 18 years old. The FDA issued warning letters in November to manufacturers after being under pressure to take action because of reports that college students had been hospitalized in recent months after consuming the drinks.
Republican state Representative Danny Ford of Mount Vernon says he believes even non-acoholic energy drinks pose a health risk to children who drink them. Kentucky lawmakers have considered such a ban on caffeinated energy drinks in the past, but the idea has never garnered enough support to pass. With new information raising fresh concerns, Ford believes it's time to try again when lawmakers convene the 2011 legislative session on January 4th. He says, if lawmakers had some of the information earlier, it would have passed.
The proposal targets carbonated drinks that contain 71 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce serving and that contain the chemicals taurine and glucuronolactone, which are commonly used in energy drinks.