The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized 16.3 lakh cans of the energy drink Red Bull worth Rs6.40 crore from two premises in Thane on Wednesday. A similar raid at a Vikroli–based distributor led to the seizure of 2,008 cans worth Rs 1.90 lakh.
FDA officials said the raid was conducted because the caffeine content in the energy drink was between 250 parts per million (ppm) and 300ppm. According to Indian food safety laws, the caffeine content permitted in carbonated beverages is 145 ppm.
Maharashtra has become the second state after Tamil Nadu to crack down on energy drink Red Bull for exceeding permissible limits on caffeine content.
Caffeine, a mildly addictive stimulant, is commonly found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks. Increased caffeine consumption can lead to health problems such as anxiety, nervousness, irritability, insomnia, low heart rate and issues with maternal fertility.
“Caffeine is addictive and it has a long term impact. Youngsters today are increasingly consuming alcohol with Red Bull. Parents should be keeping a check on what their children are drinking,” said Mahesh Zagade, commissioner, FDA.
“Manufacturers claim it’s an energy drink and not a carbonated drink. But when you open a Red Bull can, there's fizz and it contains carbon dioxide. We are preparing for legal battle,” Zagade added.
Though there are no separate standards for caffeine content in energy drinks, the Food Safety and Standard Act 2006 has stated that all drinks containing caffeine should follow the rules applicable to carbonated beverages.
At present, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is working on setting new norms for energy drinks. It is trying to create a new category for energy drinks to allow a higher caffeine content.
(with inputs by Menaka Rao)