Jamie Oliver urges legislation to ban energy drinks for children

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Chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver has called for legislation to ban the sale of energy drinks to children after supermarkets introduced their own age limits on the high caffeine and sugar products.

Oliver tweeted: “The supermarkets are showing real leadership, we now need the government to step up and introduce legislation which completely bans the sale of energy drinks to children.”

The chef, who has long campaigned to change the nation’s eating habits, said a Government ban would ensure that smaller, independent shops also stopped selling the drinks.

He said: “If the energy drink industry is literally telling us their products are ‘not recommended for children’ on the cans, why can kids as young as 10 buy them whenever they want?

“This consumption is compromising our kids, and our teachers, too – we have to do something about it.

“We urgently need the Government to step up and put age restrictions on the sale of energy drinks to all under-16s.”

Last week Tesco became the latest supermarket to announce plans to stop selling energy drinks to under-16s.

Britain’s biggest retailer said it would “introduce measures” to prevent the sale of energy drinks to children in the UK from March.

It follows similar moves by other supermarkets, with Waitrose announcing earlier this month that customers buying drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre would be asked to prove they are over 16 from March 5.

Tesco said energy drinks have not been marketed to under-16s since 2013, and they already carry a recommendation that they are not for children.

Campaigners have been calling for a complete ban on the sale of energy drinks to children following findings that their sugar and caffeine content remains high despite reformulation ahead of the soft drinks levy.

The British Soft Drinks Association introduced a voluntary code of practice in 2010 stating that high-caffeine soft drinks should not be promoted or marketed to those under 16.

Last month, campaign group Action on Sugar (AoS) found that typical serving sizes of energy drinks were larger than other sugar-sweetened drinks at an “excessive” 500ml.

Youngsters in the UK are among the highest consumers of energy drinks in Europe, figures have shown.

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