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A new study is claiming that there is a link between caffeine and substance use in adolescence.

In response to the research, BSDA Director General Gavin Partington said:

This study contains several significant limitations, as the authors themselves acknowledge. BSDA members do not market or promote energy drinks to under-16s, nor do they sample products with this age group. In addition, energy drinks carry an advisory note stating ‘not recommended for children’.

The BSDA Code of Practice on energy drinks was introduced by and for our members in 2010 and contains a number of stringent points on responsible marketing. We remain committed to supporting the responsible sale of energy drinks.

The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) has called the publication of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guideline on the use of non-sugar sweeteners a “disservice to public health”.

The WHO guideline, which the body itself admits is a conditional recommendation based on evidence of low-certainty, was published on 15 May 2023. It suggests that non-sugar sweeteners shouldn’t be used as a means of achieving weight control or reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases.

An ISA spokesperson said: “In light of the global effort to address the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including dental diseases which are the most prevalent NCD globally, and other societal challenges such as the global obesity crisis, the ISA believes it is a disservice to public health to not recognise low/no calorie sweeteners’ role in reducing sugar and calorie intake and aiding in weight control.

“The ISA believes this guideline should have been based on the comprehensive set of available evidence and interpreted considering the hierarchy and weight of scientific evidence. The WHO could only conclude a conditional recommendation, which is not scientifically rigorous, nor based on a robust evidence base or supported by the evidence presented in the WHO-commissioned systematic review itself.

“The ISA joins others, including relevant government agencies around the globe, who have responded to the public consultation on the draft guideline expressing their concerns about the conclusions and rationale used by WHO. The ISA agrees with the UK’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities that commented ‘the guideline may go too far’ and with the Australian government’s Department of Health and Aged Care who wrote that ‘the recommendation may result in undesirable health outcomes for some individuals.'”

ISA Chairman Bob Peterson added: “Food and beverage companies have reformulated products as part of a comprehensive, global effort to meet public health recommendations (including from the WHO) for sugar reduction. Low/no calorie sweeteners have enabled this innovation and ultimately contribute to the creation of healthier food environments by allowing people to enjoy food and drinks with less sugar and fewer calories, while still meeting their taste preferences.”

Prof Nita Forouhi, MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, said: “The findings of the WHO report are justifiable for general populations of people without diabetes, based on the inclusion of all eligible evidence from multiple research study designs, but are limited by several factors, many of which the report acknowledged. Notably, the WHO recommendation on avoiding the use of non-sugar sweeteners for longer term weight management or chronic disease prevention is conditional, therefore context and country specific policy decisions may be needed rather than necessarily being universally implemented as they stand. The role of non-sugar sweeteners as a way to reduce calories in the short-term is, however, supported by evidence – so using sweeteners can be part of interventions to manage weight in the short term.”

The UK Government has announced that it is suspending the tariffs imposed on a range of food and drink items, including orange juice (see the full list via this link).

Success on the latter product comes after the BSDA and the British Fruit Juice Association applied (in July 2021) to get the two commodity codes which make orange juice products more expensive suspended.

During the UK’s membership of the EU, Industry had to submit applications to the bloc to request suspensions, which then had to be assessed by all member states.

BSDA Director Gavin Partington, said: “We welcome the Government’s decision to suspend the tariffs placed on orange juice imports. This will ease some of the cost pressures faced by our members such as on fuel and transport. A 150 ml serving of orange juice counts as one of your 5 A Day and is a cost effective way of working towards the target which – according to NHS data – is currently being missed by all age groups.”

The tariff suspensions are expected to apply for a period from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2024.