The drinks that, if consumed, can lead to lethal outcome have been found in Shymkent. Resourceful citizens there have organized an underground workshop for producing energy drinks. During their operation, they managed to manufacture products worth 37 million tenge.
The credit for discovering the underground workshop goes to the Shymkent Department of the Agency for the Financial Monitoring. During the raid on the underground workshop, a team comprising officers from the department, the city’s sanitary-epidemiological control management, and the rights holders of a well-known brand confiscated more than 21,000 cans of counterfeit energy drink, over 54,000 empty cans with a trademark on, equipment for bottling and packaging, caps, and dry mixtures for manufacturing counterfeit products from the criminals.
To manufacture the deadly slipslop, the criminals used citric acid, caffeine, baking soda, and sugar, along with additives such as coloring agents and acidity regulators.
«According to the official report on the microbiological assay completed by the ‘National Center for Expertise,’ the confiscated beverage was found to contain mold and yeast levels exceeding the permissible limit by two times. This product is unfit for consumption as it poses a significant health risk to individuals, especially young individuals,» concluded the inspection team.
The outcome of this case for the suspects is yet to be determined. In the meantime, domestic lawmakers are once again raising the issue of banning energy drinks or requesting that they be at least equated with alcohol and cigarettes in terms of regulation.
We Are All Exposed …
In recent years, energy drinks have indeed become a daily ritual for many Kazakhstani citizens, much like cigarettes, coffee, or other seemingly innocent habits. What complicates the situation is that among the consumers of energy drinks, there are not only teenagers but also children. Some parents buy these drinks for their children, while minors do so secretly from adults. Consequently, sellers often sell these products to minors without hesitation. This raises concerns about the accessibility and potential health risks associated with energy drinks, especially for underaged individuals.
Regardless of the brand, the composition of all energy drinks currently available on the market does share common elements. They typically contain high levels of sugar, caffeine, and taurine. In addition to these ingredients, many energy drinks also include stabilizers and preservatives. Considering this chemical diversity, there are indeed concerns about the potential harm associated with energy drinks.
The consequences of regular consumption of energy drinks are well-known to Kazakhstani specialists. For example, excessive caffeine intake can lead to hallucinations and epileptic seizures. The high concentration of sugar can ultimately result in diabetes and obesity. Children who consume energy drinks at an inappropriate age are prone to heart problems. Kazakhstani doctors have observed atrial fibrillation and myocardial infarction in underage individuals. Cardiologists are convinced that even if a child consumes energy drinks infrequently, it can still lead to fatal outcomes, affecting not only the heart but also the kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs. If one considers that counterfeit energy drinks occasionally make their way into Kazakhstani stores, with improperly dosed harmful substances, it is frightening to imagine the potential consequences of energy drink consumption even for an adult.
Ban, But To Certain Measure?
Reports of the lethal hazards, associated with energy drinks are widespread worldwide. Medical professionals admit that the harmful consequences of consuming these beverages are often understated. As a result, some associations and governments are introducing various restrictions on the consumption of energy drinks. These restrictions vary depending on the city and country where they are implemented. The goal is to protect public health and mitigate the risks associated with excessive consumption of these products.
According to the Customs Union Regulation TR CU 022/2011, non-alcoholic beverages containing caffeine at concentrations exceeding 150 mg/liter must be labeled with the following warning: «Not recommended for children under 18 years of age, pregnant and nursing women, as well as individuals with increased nervous excitability, insomnia, and arterial hypertension.» This warning label, of course, does not prevent the consumption of energy drinks in practice, since they are consumed by everyone.
In the United States, the rules are indeed different, and organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics do not prohibit caffeine consumption by children but rather introduce certain restrictions on its dosage. For example, children aged 12-18 are advised not to consume more than 100 mg of caffeine per day, and caffeine-containing beverages are not recommended for those younger. The European Heart Rhythm Association recommends prohibiting «energy drinks» for children under 14 and for individuals with heart conditions. Therefore, for everyone else, consuming energy drinks is technically allowed. In essence, the only factor that can protect individuals from consuming energy drinks is their awareness and conscientiousness, both regarding their own health and the health of children. There are no other strict regulations in place.