NOS energy shot

NOS energy shot

The Food Standards Code allows energy drinks to contain a maximum caffeine concentration of 320mg per litre. So a 250ml can of a regular energy drink is allowed to contain up to 80mg of caffeine – about the same amount as you’d find in a strong cup of coffee.

But an energy shot is considered to be a “supplemented food” and the law doesn't state a maximum caffeine concentration for this. So energy shots can have much higher concentrations of caffeine than energy drinks. The NOS energy shot (see our product table) contained 250mg caffeine in a 60ml shot. That’s a concentration of 4000mg per litre!

Labelling information

There are labels to tell us what’s in these shots, though. The New Zealand Food (Supplemented Food) Standard 2010 – introduced in April this year – requires that all labels on supplemented foods be in English, provide information on allergens, and include a nutrition information panel (NIP) as well as warning labels for substances that are associated with risks (such as caffeine).

All the energy shots we looked at included warnings that they weren’t suitable for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or anyone sensitive to caffeine.

As well, all stated a recommended daily “dose” (serving) of one or two doses.

You should follow this recommendation. The average adult can safely consume about 400mg per day – some energy shots can contribute more than half this amount.

Voluntary code of practice

Through the New Zealand Juice and Beverage Association and the Australian Beverages Council, the energy-drink industry has developed a voluntary code of practice for shots. The code sets a maximum caffeine level for energy shots of 160mg per single shot. It also provides guidance on where retailers should display these products.

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