Tory MP calls for ban on sale of high-energy drinks to under-16s


Theresa May has said the Government will continue to look at the evidence on high-energy drinks after a Tory MP called for their sale to be banned to under-16s.

The Prime Minister said she was aware drinks high in sugar can be damaging to children's health, adding that the Government was supporting schools and parents to make healthier choices.

At Prime Minister's Questions, Tory MP Maria Caulfield raised the case of constituent Justin Bartholomew.

She told MPs that Mr Bartholomew's family believed high-energy drinks had made his anxiety worse and contributed to his suicide.

Mrs May said: "She has raised a tragic case and I know that the thoughts and sympathies of the whole House will be with the family and friends of Justin Bartholomew.

"Of course, we have introduced the soft drinks industry levy.

"We do recognise that there are issues around drinks that are high in sugar and we know that energy drinks high in sugar can be damaging to children's health.

"We're supporting schools and parents to make healthier choices and to be able to identify those through clearer labelling, through campaigns.

"But of course this is an issue that the Department of Health and Social Care will continue to look at and they'll continue to look at the scientific evidence in relation to these drinks."

A Downing Street source said officials would look at the evidence but added: "There is probably an issue with sugar and caffeine and other substances in some of those energy drinks because obviously some of them are quite high in caffeine."

Ms Caulfield, a Conservative Party vice-chairwoman, told the Commons: "My constituent Justin Bartholomew was just 25 when he committed suicide late last year.

"His family are convinced that his intake of high energy drinks, over 15 cans a day, increased his anxiety and contributed to his death.

"Given the increased safety concern around the high-energy drink market and the actions of people like Jamie Oliver and Waitrose, would the Prime Minister consider introducing a national ban on the sale of these energy drinks for under-16s?"