Will Labour's energy drink ban apply to Scotland and what TV chef Jamie Oliver has to say abut the move?

Energy drinks would be banned for sale to under-16s under the new proposals

The sale of energy drinks to children in England and Wales would be banned under new proposals put forward by Labour.

Under-16s would no longer be allowed to purchase the drinks such as Prime or Monster Energy, as shadow health secretary Wes Streeting warned children are attending schools “wired on the equivalent of three shots of espresso from these toxic drinks”.

What would the ban entail?

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the sale of drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre to under-16s would be banned.

He said selling energy drinks to children was “not justifiable or acceptable”, adding: “We’ll stop it. I will always take the tough decisions necessary to keep our children healthy.” National Trading Standards would be expected to enforce the policy.

What drinks would fall under the ban?

Labour said soft drinks such as Coca-Cola fall below the caffeine per litre limit, but a 500ml can of drinks such as Monster Energy would exceed it.

Will the ban apply to Scotland?

The ban would not automatically apply to Scotland. However, such a move in England and Wales would likely put pressure on the Scottish Government to resurrect plans shelved a year ago.

In March last year, public health secretary Jenny Minto said the Scottish Government would not go forward with proposals to ban the sale of energy drinks to under-16s following a consultation.

The Government floated the idea alongside two other measures of publishing calorie counts and restricting promotions on unhealthy foods to combat obesity in its 2018 diet and healthy weight delivery plan.

However, Ms Minto said there was not sufficient evidence to introduce a ban on sales to children and said instead the Government would “continue to support” voluntary measures.

Consultations, including canvassing opinions of health organisations, retailers and manufacturers, took place between 2019 and 2022.

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What has TV chef Jamie Oliver said about Labour’s proposed move?

The TV chef from Essex, who fronted a successful campaign to ban Turkey Twizzlers from school canteens during Tony Blair’s premiership, has described the party’s proposal as “really exciting”. Mr Oliver, whose shows have included The Naked Chef and Jamie’s Air-Fryer Meals, said in a video posted to social media website X: “When we’ve got some of the most unhealthy kids in Europe, we need to not have one thing, we need many, many things that are going to help make our kids fitter, healthier, have better outcomes and just flourish and be more productive as adults, and cost the NHS less.”

Oliver described himself as “completely apolitical”. He said: “You would be amazed if you saw how many kids have breakfast in the form of an energy drink.”

The TV chef alleged children were “bouncing off the walls” in the classroom, which means teachers have to resort to “plan B or plan C” lessons.

“Child health hasn’t been put central to any manifesto in the last 20 years, ever, ever, ever,” he said. “This is really exciting for me. It means they’re looking at the detail, it means they’re looking at the science.”

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