Canada has always had a bizarre rule that cola-like beverages (like Coca-Cola and Pepsi) could contain caffeine, but other soft drinks could not. This has led to discrepancies across the border’for instance, Mountain Dew, which apparently has quite high levels of caffeine in the United States, has until now been caffeine-free in Canada.
But this is about to change, as Health Canada has announced that it will be allowing the addition of caffeine in non-cola soft drinks. The justification? The addition of caffeine apparently poses no additional health risks to Canadians’so long as they follow Health Canada’s guidelines for levels of caffeine consumption (no more than 400 mg/day for the average adult, less for children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding). Note, of course, that there is no law requiring manufacturers to label their products with the quantity of caffeine (although added caffeine does have to be listed in the ingredients), so it takes some research to figure out how much you’re consuming’although Health Canada has requested that soft drink companies include levels of caffeine on product labels.
Now, I love a good cup of coffee as much as the next person, though I try to stick to green tea most days. And I’m definitely not the only one in this country with a daily caffeine habit. But I have to wonder’why have caffeine in pop at all? Especially when it’s a product strongly marketed to children, who are especially susceptible to the negative effects of caffeine consumption?
Could it be that manufacturers just want us to associate their products with increased energy’in short, to be addicted to them?
What do you think? Should soft drinks contain added caffeine? Should Health Canada have made the decision it did?