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PFA to launch crackdown on 'energy drinks' from January 1.

LAHORE -- The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has decided to launch a massive crackdown on energy drinks across Punjab from Tuesday as the deadline ends on December 31.

The provincial food watchdog has directed its field officers to start discarding all beverages being sold in markets that have word 'energy' printed on their packaging from January 1. It had given the December 31 deadline to beverage manufacturers to change the packaging of their products.

The authority had banned the sale of energy drinks in April 2018 and directed all manufacturers and distributors to remove their stocks form the market before completion of the deadline. As per provincial food regulations, no company can print word 'energy' on its products' packaging. The companies are bound by the law to prominently mentioned 'highly caffeinated drink' on their products.

Some beverage manufacturers approached food watchdog to extend the December 31 deadline, but their plea was rejected by the authority. Representatives of beverage manufacturers met PFA Director General Capt (retd) Muhammad Usman last week to seek more time for business adjustment.

The PFA director general said the authority could not extend the deadline but going to launch a massive crackdown against the sale of all such products from January 1. He underscored that nobody, including manufacturers and food business operators, would sell any energy drink in the market after December 31.

Earlier, the authority had barred a couple of energy drink manufacturers for airing deceptive advertising. The authority had issued a notice to an energy drink manufacturer for stopping its current advertisement. The authority had directed beverage manufacturer to make necessary changes in their advertisement as per provincial food regulations and standards.

The authority observed that the company was presenting a wrong picture through its TV commercial while the reality was altogether different. It told the manufacturer that the sale of all such products had been banned across Punjab and it is strictly prohibited to run such misleading advertisements. The authority had also directed manufacturers to stop the use of words 'energy drink' for caffeinated drinks. It suggested companies to use the word 'stimulant' instead of 'energy'.

The director general said action is being continued against wrong labeling and misleading advertisements in Punjab. It is mandatory for all food manufacturers, marketers to seek the approval of the authority on contents of the promotional material and TV commercials prior to broadcasting in order to avoid mislabeling, deception and misbranding.

Studies have shown that it is safe for most people to consume low to moderate amounts of caffeine, but it may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects if consumed in high doses. Caffeine is known to increase alertness as it blocks the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical that makes you feel tired. At the same time, it triggers the release of adrenaline, the 'fight-or-flight' hormone associated with increased energy. However, at higher doses, these effects may become more pronounced, leading to anxiety and nervousness.

Extremely high daily intakes of 1,000 mg or more per day have been reported to cause nervousness, jitteriness and similar symptoms in most people, whereas even a moderate intake may lead to similar effects in caffeine sensitive individuals. Additionally, modest doses have been shown to cause rapid breathing and increase stress levels when consumed in one sitting.

According to some studies, higher caffeine intake appears to increase the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. It may also decrease total sleeping time, especially in the elderly.
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Publication:The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Dec 30, 2018
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