Buckfast warns of action over caffeine proposal

Buckfast 'mentioned in crime reports less often than lager'. Picture: Donald MacLeod

Buckfast 'mentioned in crime reports less often than lager'. Picture: Donald MacLeod

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SCOTTISH Labour has been warned it would face a legal challenge from Buckfast if it attempts to impose a limit on caffeine in alcoholic drinks.

JC Chandler, which distributes the drink in Scotland, also said it was less closely linked to crime than lager.

Police Scotland has apologised for marking bottles of Buckfast, in case they featured in a crime, and for trying to persuade one shopkeeper not to stock the product, after Buckfast launched legal action.

Jim Wilson, of JC Chandler, warned it would also take Scottish Labour to court if need be.

The party has proposed limiting the caffeine limit in Buckfast, and all alcoholic drinks, at 150mg – almost half the current level.

“Scottish Labour are going to cost of the taxpayer large sums of money if they get into power and take action against Buckfast,” he said.

“Buckfast will not be blamed should their be any legal challenge. This will not end in the Scottish courts, it will go on to the European courts.”

He added: “According to police figures, lager was mentioned in more reports of crime than Buckfast.

“According to an FOI, between 2010 and 2012, Buckfast was mentioned 5,000 times, and lager 6,000.”

Richard Simpson, Scottish Labour’s health spokesman, said: “My proposed alcohol bill includes imposing a legal limit on caffeinated drinks and I would hope that any potential threat of legal action would be a secondary consideration to the health of Scots.

“There is no magic solution to tackling Scotland’s problems with alcohol, that’s why we wanted the SNP to go further than minimum unit pricing.

“We need a strategy that tackles behaviour, attitudes and supports people with problems and I intend to continue to work on my bill which would do all these things.”

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