Retailers must begin training staff now to be ready for the Government’s proposed legislation that will add an age restriction on energy drinks, according to age-related sale tester Serve Legal. 

The claim follows the closure of the government consultation last Wednesday. If approved, the legislation will apply to any energy drink with a caffeine content of 150g or more per litre. 

Serve Legal director Ed Heaver told RN independents need to act now. “They need to be ready to demonstrate they have the correct systems in place to be acting as responsible retailers,” he said. “I would encourage them to develop  a compliance programme so they can check what staff are doing.”

It is still not clear whether the ban will apply to under-16s or -18s. Heaver added: “I sympathise with independents who will lose sales if customers cannot provide identification. A process needs to be put in place so under-16s are carrying proper ID.”

In a submission to the consultation, the ACS set out that if the Government decides to introduce a legal age restriction for energy drinks, it will work with them to promote compliance. 

This would be done through its Assured Advice scheme, approved by Surrey and Buckinghamshire trading standards. 

Chief executive James Lowman said: “Over half of independent convenience retailers and many larger groups have introduced policies to prevent the sales of energy drinks to those under 16 years old, but a legally enforced age restriction at 16 years of age would provide retailers and consumers with absolute clarity on purchasing energy drinks.”

However, Heaver said it is vital to address the issue of under-16s not carrying ID. “Sixteen-year-olds tend not to carry any identification,” he said. “This needs to be highlighted and a process put in place so younger people have proper ID to carry.”

The Department of Health said it will be publishing the results of the consultation early next year.

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