Scotland Confronting Caffeine's 'Dangers'

September 20/PA Newswire: Scotland -- A Labour Party spokesperson said there was "overwhelming evidence" that caffeinated alcoholic drinks can be dangerous.

The party's health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie urged the Scottish National Party (SNP) to back their call for a limit of 150mg of caffeine per liter in beverages such as Buckfast.

Labour said that numerous studies have highlighted the dangers of mixing energy drinks with alcohol, with research at Wake Forest University in America finding students who mix caffeine with alcohol are more likely to drink (and) drive, be involved in violence or end up in hospital.

The party also cited the McKinlay report for the Scottish Prison Service which found that 40% of offenders who drank before their offense committed their crime after drinking tonic wine.

Baillie said, "There is overwhelming evidence that the combination of alcohol and caffeine can be dangerous, yet we have some alcoholic drinks where a single bottle contains as much caffeine as three-and-a-half cans of Red Bull.

"I believe that the risks involved in consuming caffeinated alcohol are so great that the Scottish Government must take action.

"The research suggests you are more likely to end up in hospital or be assaulted if you drink these products.

"There can be no sensible reason to sell caffeinated alcohol. Such products have already been voluntarily removed from the market in the U.S., and other EU countries, like Denmark, have refused to license them."

The Alcohol Commission, set up by Labour, has called for a limit on the amount of caffeine in alcoholic drinks -- a move which, if adopted, could see Buckfast banned.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier said that the Scottish Government will "carefully consider" Labour calls to ban caffeinated alcoholic drinks.

However, she insisted there was no evidence to show that this, in itself, would protect health or prevent crime in line with EU law.

Experts told Holyrood's Health Committee last week that there was no evidence to suggest the tonic wine caused or increased violence.

The SNP administration wants to impose a 45p minimum unit price on alcohol designed to change the country's relationship with cheap drink.

The measures contained within the Scottish Government's Alcohol Bill have been widely embraced by the health profession but are largely opposed by opposition parties.

From the October 4, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition