Caffeinated drinks

Caffeinated drinks cannot be sold in primary school canteens.

Energy drinks cannot be sold in primary or secondary school canteens.

What are caffeinated drinks?

  • coffee: instant or espresso, percolator, plunger – for example, long black, short black, flat white, cappuccino, latte, mocha, iced coffee.
  • tea.
  • energy drinks.
  • cola and other soft drinks with caffeine, including diet soft drink.
  • flavoured milks made with real coffee.

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a stimulant drug that comes from the leaves, beans or nuts of different plants such as coffee beans, tea leaves and guarana. Caffeine affects the brain and nervous system, increasing alertness and heart rate. Large amounts can cause headaches, anxiety, agitation, stomach upsets and difficulty sleeping.

Why can't caffeinated drinks be sold in primary school canteens?

There are no guidelines for the safe intake of caffeine in children. Energy drinks can contain the same amount of caffeine – and sometimes more – than a cup of coffee. Drinks with added caffeine (such as cola and energy drinks) are required by law to have a warning on the label saying 'not suitable for young children'. Caffeine intake in teenagers is considered less risky because of their larger body size. Therefore, coffee and cola, but not energy drinks, are permitted in secondary schools along with educational messages around safe consumption.

What drinks can be sold instead?

Water and milk are the best drinks for children

  • tap water is the best drink for children.
  • bottled waters are also suitable (for example, spring, mineral or sparkling).
  • plain waters infused with fruit/herb essence or flavouring only (no fruit juice, no sugars and no intense sweeteners added) are suitable. These can be made in the school canteen or commercially prepared.
  • plain milk or milk alternatives with added calcium (for example, soy or rice milk) are also healthy choices. Preferably reduced fat.

Other drinks to enjoy in small amounts

  • flavoured milk, milkshakes and smoothies, preferably reduced fat and no added ice-cream, gelato or sorbet
  • 99% fruit juice or vegetable juice (no added sugar).

Find out more

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