Hospital ban on sale of high-energy drinks to under-16s

Shops on NHS sites take lead in promoting healthy diet.


The sale of high-energy drinks to under-16s is being banned in hospital retail units.

The restriction will apply to drinks with an added caffeine content of more than 150mg/litre.

The change is the latest update to the Healthcare Retail Standard, a set of criteria which all retailers operating in NHS sites in Scotland must adhere to. It aims to increase the amount of healthier food and drinks in shops in NHS buildings, with tighter rules around what can be promoted.

The move will be matched by all NHS-run catering sites.

New restrictions on baby food are also being introduced to ensure healthy eating behaviours are instilled at the earliest possible stage. Products will have to contain no added sugar or salt and be unsweetened.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“The Healthcare Retail Standard supports healthier eating across the NHS estate and it is right that our hospitals show a lead in providing food and drink which is health promoting.

“The HRS ensures that at least 50% of food and 70% of drinks on sale are healthier options.

“This supports the Scottish Government’s strategy of working to improve Scotland’s diet and tackle health inequalities.”

Background information:

The HRS was devised in partnership with NHS boards, NHS Health Scotland, NHS National Services Scotland, the Scottish Grocers Federation, leading hospital retailers AND the Scottish Government, in consultation with Food Standards Scotland. By November 2017, all 102 stores in Scottish hospitals had achieved the HRS.

The Consumer Information Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 which came into force in December 2014 contains provisions regarding the labelling of beverages with an added caffeine content of more than 150 mg/litre. The labelling of energy drinks must include the following: “High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women.” The warning is followed by a quantitative indication of the product’s caffeine content. This approach has been adopted universally across the EU, but was applied voluntarily by industry in the UK from 2010.

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