The Daily Express claims that “Brussels is trying to restrict the drinking habits of Britain’s coffee lovers”.
This is utter rubbish. It is inconceivable that the EU ever could – or would want to – restrict people from drinking as much coffee as they like.
What has happened is that some producers of energy drinks and other products containing caffeine sought EU authorisation for some claims they wanted to make in advertisements about caffeine’s alleged beneficial effects.
The EU is a single market where products can be marketed EU wide under one set of rules, which keeps business costs and prices down.
That means that, to protect consumers, there is a need to assess at European level the veracity of claims about the health-giving properties of food and drink. This is done based on advice from experts from the European Commission and all Member States.
As part of the ongoing assessment of whether the claims about caffeine should be permitted, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was asked to analyse the safety of different levels of caffeine intake.
It concluded that regular caffeine consumption up to 400mg per day – perhaps four strong cups of coffee – do not raise safety concerns for non-pregnant adults.
This is advice, not a proposal to regulate how much coffee people drink.
The BBC, the Times, the Daily Mail and others all reported this accurately.
And no doubt most Express readers will have worked out for themselves that there will never be an EU “limit on our daily visits to the coffee shop”.
But just in case anyone really does think clipboard-toting Brussels busybodies will be following them around snatching cappuccinos out of their hands, we thought it best to set the record straight.