OUR SAY: CWA ladies decide to can the can for youngsters

YOUNG people who are surprised that the Country Women's Association knows what energy drinks are probably know a great deal less about the harm these caffeine-fortified drinks can do than this powerful rural organisation.

With its unique position as a lobby group for rural women and rural issues the CWA has long had the ear of governments.

So why would the CWA decide to take on the burgeoning energy drink industry which is a massive earner for some of the biggest multinational companies in the world?

One reason is that teenagers and young people in regional areas are no different from their city counterparts in taking up fads, whether they be in fashion, takeaway food or energy drinks.

With three or four times as much caffeine as a cup of coffee and up to half the average daily intake of sugar in a single can, common energy drinks are a nutritional disaster if consumed too much.

The labels which warn the drinks are not suitable for children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers say it all.

Add to that the common practice of mixing alcohol and energy drinks and the results can self-destructive. Many a publican would support the CWA’s concern that the charge of stimulants in an energy drink is not the best thing for someone who is already under the influence of alcohol.

Taking on the virtually unregulated energy drink industry will be a tough ask for the CWA but those who think their campaign will begin and end with a petition tabled in Parliament and duly consigned to a storeroom are wrong.

You can bet the CWA will continue to hammer home its message with its network of rural MPs.

And good on them. It’s about time governments accepted that a great deal more needs to be done to restrict the intake of these drinks.

Whether this should be done by more education and mandatory labelling or the sort of sales ban the CWA is advocating will be the subject of a vigorous debate, but let’s have it.


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