Drinks with a high-caffeine content will have to be more clearly labelled following changes introduced to EU labelling regulations.
The new ruling, agreed in Brussels by EU Member States last week, will apply to drinks containing more than 150 milligrams of caffeine per litre. This means that normal cola drinks will not be affected, as they generally contain less than 150mg of caffeine per litre.
The new rules will not affect drinks based on tea and coffee, as long as the name of the drink makes clear it has been made from those ingredients.
The strict new rules require manufacturers to put the term 'high caffeine content' and the amount in the same field of vision as the name of the food, in order to alert consumers to unexpectedly high caffeine levels in some soft drinks.
The new rules also state that caffeine and quinine should be declared in ingredient lists when used as a flavouring in any food.
Currently the legislation requires only the term 'flavouring', although many manufacturers voluntarily indicate when caffeine or quinine has been added. The new rules must come into effect by 1 July 2004.