Energy drinks sold in Canada can’t have more caffeine than a medium cup of coffee, according to a new rule announced by that country’s health minister last week.
But the government didn’t go as far as some wanted. A task force appointed to study the issue recommended classifying Red Bull, Monster Energy, and other energy drinks as medicine, and requiring that they be available only behind the counter at a pharmacy.
Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq rejected that recommendation, saying she believes it’s up to individuals to make their own decisions about what they eat and drink.
But she did give the nod to limiting the amount of caffeine in energy drinks to 180 milligrams per drink, about the same amount as in a medium-sized cup of coffee. The limit is high enough that it won’t make a difference for some of the most popular drinks like Red Bull, which has only 80 mg of caffeine per serving.
The new rule also reclassifies energy drinks as food. They were previously classified in Canada as “natural health products” and were, as such, exempt from product labeling requirements. Under the new rule, they’re subject to full labeling requirements, like any other packaged food.
In the U.S. there are no limits on caffeine in energy drinks.