Food Law News - EU - 2002

FSA News, 26 February 2002

LABELLING - Labels to spell out caffeine content

High-caffeine drinks must be more clearly labelled as part of a package of changes to EU labelling regulations. The new ruling, agreed in Brussels by EU member states on February 22 2002, will apply to drinks containing more than 150 milligrams of caffeine per litre. Normal cola drinks will not be affected because they contain less than 150mg of caffeine per litre. Neither will drinks based on tea and coffee, as long as the name of the drink makes clear it has been made from tea of coffee.

Putting the term 'high caffeine content' and the amount in the same field of vision as the name of the food will alert consumers to unexpectedly high caffeine levels in some soft drinks. The new rules also state that caffeine and quinine should be declared in ingredient lists when used as a flavouring in any food.

Currently the legislation requires only the term 'flavouring', although many manufacturers voluntarily indicate when caffeine or quinine has been added. The new rules must come into effect by July 1 2004.

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