Australia Targets Alcoholic Energy Drinks

December 13/ABC Premium News (Australia) -- The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is calling for legislation to ban alcoholic energy drinks.

A group of health organizations known as the Alcohol Policy Coalition is urging the government to follow the lead of the U.S. and push manufacturers to stop making the products. All alcoholic energy drinks are expected to be off U.S. shelves by close of business on December 13.

AMA Western Australia president David Mountain says the drinks are extremely harmful and need to be banned. "It's irresponsible; it means that people are pepped up, drink longer, drink harder and are more likely to get themselves into trouble," he said.

"And we can see no purpose for these drinks except to make obscene profits for the alcohol industry."

Mountain says he doubts simply putting pressure on the alcohol industry will work. "A bit like the binge drinkers it's trying to sell to, they never know when enough is enough," he said.

"I think it's unlikely they'll self-regulate, and I think, in the end, we'll have to have legislation if we want to make these drinks go away."

Alcohol Policy Coalition spokeswoman Sondra Davoren says several states are taking action and Fosters and Lion Nathan no longer produce the drinks.

She says Australian authorities also need to realize how dangerous they are. "We believe alcoholic energy drinks present a significant harm, particularly to young people," she said.

"This is because research indicates that the products mask the sign of intoxication so people drink more than they normally would.

"Regulations are failing to cope with the development of new products and this is where we think the state and territory governments and the Commonwealth Government should step in, show some leadership and take these products off the shelves."  

From the December 14, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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