• France edition
 
Avoid Vodka Red Bull, French watchdog advises
France's health watchdog has advised against mixing energy drinks with alcohol. Photo: Hommard.net/Flickr

Avoid Vodka Red Bull, French watchdog advises

Published: 01 Oct 2013 12:46 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Oct 2013 16:00 GMT+02:00

France has long regarded energy drinks with suspicion, and a new report released by the country’s health watchdog on Tuesday once again reveals authorities' misgivings towards beverages like Red Bull, Monster and Burn.

“Fini la vodka-Red Bull” was how one French news site summed up the report by France ‘s health watchdog ANSES (Agence nationale de securité sanitaire d’alimentation) which looked into the health risks of energy drinks.

ANSES had been tasked to look into the possible adverse health effects of the energy drinks, which on average contain an amount of caffeine equivalent to two standard espressos, AFP reports.

With figures showing nearly nine million French people consume around 40 million litres of the drinks each year, ANSES’ conclusions will not make happy reading for industry chiefs.

ANSES says, due to high caffeine content, the drinks should not be mixed with alcohol, or consumed during intensive sporting activity. Adolescents are also advised to avoid the beverages altogether, because of potentially harmful consequences to their health.

Pregnant women and children have already been advised against consuming the drinks over health concerns.

For the full report CLICK HERE

Reacting to the report France’s consumer rights organisation CLCV called for advertising for energy drinks to be banned from sporting events and stronger rules on labelling to be enforced.

“The risks posed by the inappropriate use of these products requires a strengthening of the rules around labelling. There should be clearly visible warnings to discourage children and reminders that they are not designed for those involved in physical effort and that they should not be mixed with alcohol," CLCV said in a statement.

“We also ask for the levels of caffeine to be regulated to prevent them from reaching the levels seen in the United States. We should remind ourselves that in America energy drinks are responsible for a rise in the number of cases of caffeine intoxication and they increase the likelihood of binge drinking among young people," the organisation added.

Drinks like Red Bull were banned in France in their original recipes for 12 years over fears of adverse health effects. That ban was only lifted in 2008 when France bowed to European regulations that stipulated they should be allowed to be sold, in the absence of any proof that they are harmful.

France remained cautious, however, and then Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot asked that the drinks be kept under surveillance, and that the public be informed of their possible undesirable effects.

In its latest report on Tuesday, ANSES claims that consumption by pregnant or breastfeeding mothers can lead to delays in foetal growth. It also advises people with heart, psychological or neurological disorders to avoid the energy drinks, as well as those suffering from renal disease or liver failure.

If young people consume the drinks in excessive quantities it can lead to sleep disorders, ANSES claims, as well as a risk the adolescent will develop addictions to other substances.

According to the health watchdog, 257 cases of people having adverse reactions to the drink were reported, of which 212 could be analysed.

The chances that energy drinks were the cause of the adverse effects was judged “likely or very likely” in 25 percent of cases, Deputy Director of ANSES Franck Fourès told AFP.

The study comes just weeks after reports in France that the government plans to introduce a special tax on energy drinks.

The tax would be aimed at discouraging young people from consuming the drinks and would allegedly pull in €12.5 million for state coffers.

The finance ministry has not confirmed the reports, but Health Minister Marisol Touraine has vowed to investigate the possibility that the advertising of energy drinks can be better regulated.

Don't miss stories like this - join us on Facebook and Twitter

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French try to make surly shopkeepers kinder
Tired of bad customer service in France? Photo: Smiling worker: Shutterstock

French try to make surly shopkeepers kinder

Many Anglos have a dim view of customer service in France, but the French aren't happy either with how some shopkeepers treat them. Now a growing programme is labeling shopkeepers who you can expect to be friendly. READ  

Broadcasts cut as fire ravages French radio HQ
A massive fire cut broadcasting for many of France's public radio stations. Photo: France Bleu

Broadcasts cut as fire ravages French radio HQ

A massive fire ripped through the Paris building that houses studios for some of France's public radio stations, prompted broadcasts to be abruptly cut off. It's unclear what sparked the blaze. READ  

Metro and Train strike set for Tuesday in France
A train and metro strike is set for Tuesday in France. Photo: AFP

Metro and Train strike set for Tuesday in France

Commuters should brace themselves for travel chaos next week, with a train and Metro strike set for Tuesday, according to AFP. But it's not clear yet how big of an industrial action it's going to be. READ  

France tries to collect €10k from fatherless girl
The teenager was told last week that she must pay back €10,000 in just 15 days. Euros: Shutterstock

France tries to collect €10k from fatherless girl

A 13-year-old girl in western France has been told she must pay back the €10,000 that was given to her by the state after her sailor father was killed in an accident. READ  

National Front pulls in 'record membership'
The National Front party has a total of 83,000 members – the highest number in the history of the party. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

National Front pulls in 'record membership'

After a year of unprecedented electoral success, Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant, anti-EU National Front party is attracting more members than ever before in the 42-year-old party’s history, French media has reported. READ  

Merah-inspired jihadists 'plot attacks in France'
Both men had been motivated by the actions of Mohamed Merah, a French-Algerian national killed by French police in March 2012 after murdering seven people. Photo: AFP

Merah-inspired jihadists 'plot attacks in France'

Morocco said on Thursday it has arrested two jihadists inspired by French terrorist Mohamed Merah who were planning to attack banks and multinational companies in France and in the North African country. READ  

Halloween in France
Paris Catacombs still draw thousands
A file picture shows skulls and bones stacked at the Catacombs of Paris. Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP

Paris Catacombs still draw thousands

A place of fear, legend, inspiration and exploration, Paris's skull and bone-lined Catacombs still draw thousands of visitors each year, many of whom queue for hours to explore the ghoulish burial site. READ  

French to try out high-speed Ebola test
The trial will include a prototype device unveiled last week, similar to a home pregnancy test, that may make diagnosis possible in under 15 minutes. Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP

French to try out high-speed Ebola test

French researchers will conduct trials with prototype Ebola diagnostic tests in Guinea in November, with results expected within weeks for speedy deployment, the head of France's Ebola task force said on Thursday. READ  

Far-right mag's racial slur on minister nets fine
A racist magazine cover has resulted in a fine for a French publication. Photo: AFP

Far-right mag's racial slur on minister nets fine

A far-right publication that compared France's justice minister, who is black, to a monkey was hit on Thursday with a €10,000 fine for making racist statements. READ  

Facing panic, French town bans 'evil' clowns
It's no joke. Clown panic is spreading across France. Photo: Shutterstock

Facing panic, French town bans 'evil' clowns

A French village has banned teenagers from dressing up as clowns for Halloween after people kitted out as the colourful pranksters have sown terror and violence in several parts of the country. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles from British Airways
National
Eight Halloween events not to miss in Paris
National
10 things to never say to a French person
National
Top 10: When French translations go wrong
National
Parisian bars that serve drinkers free meals
National
France falls to Germans in nude swim tourney
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Nowhere combines sex and art quite like France
National
Why you should never turn down an invitation to a French wedding
Sport
Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France. There are a few surprises
Gallery
Ten changes that would make learning French so much easier
Culture
IN PICTURES: 'Glass ship' Vuitton ready to set sail in Paris
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se