Regulations of Energy Drinks Are Urgently Required
In recent years, various kinds of energy drinks have been produced as they are popular among younger people that they are believed to create supplement energy for people. However, this new catalogue of beverage has not been paid sufficient attention by the food and legislation departments. And few countries in the world have set up specific regulations about the production and sales of energy drinks. However, I think that as the beverage that used by human being, this kind of energy drink has to be monitored and regulated strictly to guarantee its safety to human body. And this is paper is going to discuss the importance of the energy drinks’ regulations.
By now there has not a precise definition about energy drink yet, and the most related sector is the functional beverage that used as special purposes. The functional beverage is certain product that made to be suitable for the health of some special groups of people by adjusting the composition and content of natural nutrients in the drinks. For example, the nutritional contents such as taurine, caffeine, vitamins, minerals and amino acids added inside the drinks play certain roles in fighting against physical fatigue and refreshing. However, there are also some experts believe that consumers should cautiously take the energy drinks, as these drinks are likely to bring hidden dangers to health. In general, there are three major concerns about the energy drinks as well as the reasons to support the relative industrial regulations.
First of all, not everyone is suitable for drinking energy drinks, and regulations should be made to guide the usage. In general, all the functional drinks are declared to have the functions of enhancing the body’s defense force, preventing diseases and promoting health. And many people now believe in these functions and are in pursuit of this fashion. However, few of these consumers really know that the good taste and the so-called health functions of these special beverages all come from the food additives. Although until now some beverage additives applied in the energy drinks have been approved, there are still hundreds of varieties, including a variety of vitamins, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese, amino acid, taurine, lysine, maltitol and xylitol as well as other sweeteners and thickeners. Most of these additives are synthetic, while only few natural additives are produced with higher prices. As a result, in today’s market the beverage additives are given priority to contain of synthetic. The real problem is that, different drinks with distinguished additives are suitable for corresponding consumer groups, and the energy drinks actually cannot be taken by everyone. For example, the sporting drinks are not suitable for the old man and children. The premise condition of drinking this beverage is the great physiological load of exercise and consumption of body energy (Hershorin, 2011). As the minerals and vitamins in the human body are used rapidly in the sporting time, drinking energy functional drinks that contain of sugar, water soluble vitamins and sodium, magnesium, calcium minerals can effectively supplement mineral and vitamins to achieve the purpose of quick recovery. The old people and children are not likely to take on such severe sports and lose the body energy (BBC News, 2015). As a result, if they drink a large number of these energy drinks, too much vitamin supplement will be brought in their bodies, leading to poisoning outcomes. What’s more, patients who have kidney disease and diabetes are also not suitable for drinking energy drinks. In this sense, industrial regulations and related departments should be set up, being responsible for the healthy and right usage of this special kind of beverage and guide the consumers.
Secondly, regulations should be made to guarantee that the additives used in the energy drinks are legal, and they are controlled in the range of acceptable level of human body. Although some additives are suitable for drinking, the quantity has to be restricted scientifically and reasonably. On 23th May, 2009, the German Food Safety Department reported that the official health institute of the North Rhine-Westphalia State had detected that the energy drink Red Bull contained of cocaine which is the level of drug ingredients. Later the food health research institutes in other states of Germany also confirmed the inspection results. This detection soon caused the public attention that drinking Red Bull means taking drugs. And then Taiwan and Hong Kong had the inspection of their imported Red Bull energy drinks from Austria, finding out the existence of cocaine. This incident indicates that the concerns about the energy drinks as well as the corresponding regulations are apparently not redundant. At the same time, the major purpose of these energy drinks is to improve the body excitability and provide real-time energy molecules in a short period of time. As a result, most of them use the caffeine in the recipe and creatine phosphate which can easily make power compounds. Dr. John Higgins from the University of Texas in the United States argues that the caffeine and other ingredients in the energy drinks are likely to lead to a rapid heartbeat, increasing blood pressure, arrhythmia, as well as interfering the normal salt balance in the human body. Therefore, too much caffeine drunk will damage people’s cognitive ability. In addition, the functional beverages generally contain of a variety of sugar, making negative impacts on the children who are in the growth period. For example, the flavoring agent and organic acids such as chemicals have strong corrosion effects on their teeth (Bassam, 2012). At the same time, the liver function is not good to the little children who have not grown completely. Especially for the babies whose liver metabolism is not perfect enough, the additives will aggravate the burden of livers and kidney. On the other hand, the elder people will be faced with increasing burden of metabolic organ due to the additives in the energy drinks that go through the liver and kidney.
The third reason that regulations should be set up to manage energy drinks industry is that recent promotion and marketing ways of these energy drinks are usually too exaggerated that mislead the audiences to believe too much in the functions of these beverages. In general, there are three major problems in the marketing ways of energy drinks industry. First of all, the efficacy of current productions is usually exaggerated, and the companies even advertise them like a panacea. As a result, consumers may believe in the functions of these beverages and use them as normal pills. However, no matter how functional these beverages are, they are eventually the drinks, and they should not have any health care and treatment functions that similar to drugs. But many enterprises still use the advertising campaigns without the authorization in order to attract the attention of consumers. The second concern is that some producers of energy drinks tend to conceal the taboo and side effects of the products. At present few brands in the market have put propaganda annotation that indicate the drinks are not suitable for children, and identify the functional component, content, as well as the applicable people, taboo crowds and the potential side effects. At last, as the industrial technologies are developing, many new functions are introduced in the energy drinks, and some brands are using the public attention about the pure natural plan ingredients. In fact, parts of manufactures casually add a little bit of the so-called pure and natural plant extract in the drinks. As this kind of plant ingredient may be consumed by human beings for a long time with relatively less harm, the enterprises will evade the supervision (Hiltton, 2012). Thus, in this sense it is necessary for the industrial department to set up regulations and strictly control the marketing methods of producing companies, avoiding the misleading of the public.
Despite of the reasons that regulations are urgently needed, the opposite opinion also exists. The producers of energy drinks may have different ideas about specific regulations in this filed as there are already many rules and supervisions toward the beverage industry, and additional regulations for the energy drinks may put on too much load on them. Generally speaking, the market of energy drinks has relatively strict entering conditions, and the companies in this industry are hardly to quit the competition. As a result, more regulations on them mean more pressure. What’s more, due to the special additives in the drinks, it is complicated to set up regulations to restrict every additive.
In conclusion, the energy drink is a special sector in the food and beverage industry, while specific regulations for it are still insufficient. This does not mean that few problems in this sector are found. On the contrary, energy drinks contain of a lot of additives such as caffeine are used to make people rapidly recovered from thirst and exhaust. There are three major reasons that support the necessity of industrial regulations about energy drinks. The first one is the requirement of official guidance and specification that help consumers to identify the functions of energy drinks, as different consumer groups may not all be suitable to drink the beverage. The second reason is the concern about the quality and quantity of the additives in the energy drinks, and whether the additives are legal should be especially thought over by the supervising departments. At last, in the daily marketing and promotion about the energy drinks, many misleading or even hidden contents are included. Some enterprises even use the loophole in the supervision to make fake promotion. Therefore, regulations in the energy drinks industry are urgently required. Although it may lead to the increasing pressure on the producers as well as the difficulty of the official departments, strict controls and management are responsible for both consumers and the suppliers.