Plymouth shop refuses to sell energy drinks to children
A SHOP has banned the sale of energy drinks to children following requests from worried parents.
Trelawney Stores, on Trelawney Road, in Peverell has a sign displayed stating "Following requests from parents the high caffeine drinks listed below will not be sold to under 16s."
The drinks listed include Relentless, Monster, Rockstar and Red Bull which contain high quantities of caffeine and sugar.
The sign warns that people may be requested to show identification to prove they are over 16.
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Parents are concerned about the health effects of the drinks.
Owner Paul Gentle said: "We're in a highly residential area and following a number of requests from parents not to sell energy drinks to their children, we decided to impose a blanket ban.
"It's responsible retailing – if the parents don't want their children to buy these drinks then we are happy to help impose those rules.
"Some of the drinks are worse than others, but we specify which drinks are included in the ban on the poster.
"I've drank some of them and had palpitations, so they must have an affect on children.
"Some schools don't allow certain drinks to be taken in so we're helping with that by not allowing children to buy them."
Energy drinks differ in how much caffeine they contain, but usually there is around 80mg of caffeine in a small 250ml can, which is the same as three cans of cola or one mug of instant coffee.
They are also usually high in sugar.
The UK Food Standards Agency defines a high-sugar product as containing 10g of sugar per 100g - Red Bull contains 11.3g per 100g.
Energy drinks also contain other ingredients such as glucuronolactone, taurine and sodium citrate.
Mr Gentle added: "It began after two or three parents came in and requested that we don't sell the drinks to children.
"There are plenty of other drinks for them to choose from.
"But we do have issues with kids wanting to buy them – they often come in and ask if they can.
"We've only had one occasion when a child was refused an energy drink and then they came back in with a parent who bought it for them.
"Not every parent refuses to let their children have the drinks."
Martine Fletcher was in the store with her two children and said she never lets them have energy drinks.
Mum to Amber, aged 10 and seven-year-old Kendall said: "They never have energy drinks and I only let them have fizzy drinks on their birthdays or at Christmas.
"I just think they're horrible.
"I agree that energy drinks shouldn't be sold to under 16s and my children never come home with those drinks because they're not allowed to buy them."
While there is no official ban on selling the drinks to under 16s, new labelling legislation will apply from December 13, 2014.
This will require additional caffeine labelling for high caffeine drinks and foods where caffeine is added for a physiological effect.
The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) published a voluntary Code of Practice in April 2010 which recommends prominent labelling on energy drinks, such as 'Not suitable for children, pregnant women and persons sensitive to caffeine'.
The Code of Practice also states such drinks may not be promoted or marketed to under 16s.
There is some debate about how harmful the drinks can be to young people, but The EU Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) has conducted studies considering the effects of people consuming a high dose of caffeine.
They found it could result in behavioural changes in some people especially if they didn't usually consume much caffeine, such as irritability, nervousness and anxiety.
Gillet's-Spar on Thornbury Park Avenue has also received requests from concerned parents requesting that the energy drinks are not sold to their children.
However they only refuse to sell energy drinks to specific young people. Shop assistant Nicola said: "Shops sell energy drinks to young people at their own discretion.
"Parents have come in and asked that we don't sell energy drinks to their little ones and we make sure we don't. However there should be a restriction on children buying them. It should be illegal to sell energy drinks to under 16s."