Responding to the call from the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), a spokeswoman for the BSDA said: “Energy drinks and their ingredients have been deemed safe by regulatory authorities around the world.”
The BSDA had introduced a voluntary code of practice to support consumers and parents who wanted to make informed choices, she added. “In 2015, this was updated to include more stringent guidelines around marketing and promoting, including reference to in and around schools.”
Arguing for a ban, the NASUWT said the caffeine levels in energy drinks contributed to children’s poor behaviour in schools.
‘Poor pupil behaviour’
The union’s national official for education Darren Northcott said: “Teachers have registered concerns with the NASUWT about the contribution of high energy drinks to poor pupil behaviour as a result of pupils consuming excessive quantities of these drinks.”
Young people and parents were often unaware of the very high levels of stimulants that these drinks contained, he added.
“The NASUWT has always been clear that drinks with high levels of sugar should not be sold on school premises. It is time to look again at the School Food Standards, and the enforcement of the standards, to make sure that every school in the country is free of highly-caffeinated soft drinks, as well as those that are high in sugar.”
‘Not recommended for children’
Meanwhile, the BSDA highlighted that all energy drinks carried an advisory note stating: ‘Not recommended for children’. This information should be stated clearly on the labels of high caffeine soft drinks, which should not be promoted or marketed to those under the age of 16, according to the association’s code of practice.
“Retailers, schools and parents all have a role to play in educating children about caffeine consumption from all sources,” it said in a statement. “In addition to this, the government also has an important role in raising awareness and in supporting the different stakeholders in their voluntary engagement.”
The European Food Safety Authority’s 2015 Opinion confirmed the safety of energy drinks and their ingredients, it added. Consequently, there was no scientific justification to treat energy drinks differently than the main contributors to daily caffeine intake.