Questions on energy drinks

Sale of energy drinks

  1. May energy drinks be sold to children?
  2. Can the sale of energy drinks to children/young persons be banned in the same way as the sale of e.g. beer and cigarettes, since the product bears a warning label?
  3. What is the responsibility of the store proprietor?

Evira's answers:

Legal significance of warning labels and responsibility for children's purchasing behaviour

The warning statements and instructions for use found in the labelling of foodstuffs are designed to guide the purchasing behaviour and consumption habits of certain consumer groups. Unlike laws pertaining to alcohol and tobacco products, food laws contain no regulations on sale restrictions. In other words, even compulsory warning labels on foodstuffs do not impose on the store proprietors the right or the obligation to decide who the foodstuffs are sold to. This means that stores cannot by virtue of food laws refuse to sell energy drinks to e.g. children or pregnant women.

As far as foodstuffs are concerned, the responsibility for the purchasing behaviour of children rests with their parents. The responsibility for the purchasing behaviour of young persons rests with their parents, but the young persons are also responsible themselves. Also other groups, which influence the health habits of children and young persons, such as schools, activity instructors and municipal youth services are in a position to guide the purchasing and consumption habits of the children and to teach them how to read the labelling. Food business operators, such as retail stores, can also for their part influence the purchasing behaviour of children and young people through at least careful planning of product marketing and the locations of the products.