EFSA publishes caffeine safety opinion, DRVs for calcium

29 May 2015

EFSA has published its Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine, in which it estimates acute and daily intakes that raise no safety concerns for the general healthy population. The opinion also advises on the consumption of caffeine from all dietary sources in combination with physical exercise, and on the possible risks of consuming caffeine […]

EFSA publishes caffeine safety opinion, DRVs for calcium

eu-flag-lightbox-28860367EFSA has published its Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine, in which it estimates acute and daily intakes that raise no safety concerns for the general healthy population. The opinion also advises on the consumption of caffeine from all dietary sources in combination with physical exercise, and on the possible risks of consuming caffeine together with alcohol, with other substances found in so-called energy drinks, and with p-synephrine, a substance increasingly found in food supplements.

EFSA says that 400mg of caffeine per day, in healthy adults, has no health consequences, noting that a cup of filter coffee contains 90mg, an energy drink 80mg, a cola 40mg and a bar of dark chocolate 25mg.

The assessment was finalised following extensive input from Member States, consumer groups, industry and other interested parties. This included a two-month online consultation and a stakeholder meeting in Brussels.

It is the first time that the risks from caffeine from all dietary sources have been assessed at EU level. A number of risk assessments have been carried out previously by national and other authoritative bodies around the world, which were thoroughly analysed by EFSA’s working group.

The European Commission asked EFSA to carry out its assessment after a number of Member States raised concerns about adverse health effects associated with caffeine consumption – particularly cardiovascular disease, problems related to the central nervous system (for example, interrupted sleep and anxiety), and possible risks to foetal health in pregnant women.

EFSA has also proposed dietary reference values (DRVs) for calcium, as part of its continuing work on DRVs for European citizens. The Scientific Opinion was finalised following a six-week public consultation.

Calcium is an integral component of the skeleton, EFSA notes; approximately 99 % of total body calcium is found in bones and teeth, where it has a structural role. The remaining 1% performs vascular, neuromuscular and endocrine functions in cells and tissues.

The main dietary sources of calcium in European countries differ, although dairy products are generally the most important food group, according to EFSA. Other rich food sources include dark green vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish with soft bones and calcium-fortified foods. Hard water also makes a significant contribution to calcium intake.

EFSA has also launched a public consultation on its draft Scientific Opinion on DRVs for iron. The deadline for comments is 19 July 2015.