THE Canadian government has recalled supplies of one of the world’s most popular new energy drinks after determining that it contains too much caffeine in a single serving.

Prime Energy is fronted by the YouTube celebrities Logan Paul and KSI and has recently begun to appear on shelves in the UK.

While duo own just 20% of the company, they have been front and centre of the marketing campaign.

With followers reaching into the tens of millions – predominantly made up of teenage boys and young men - it’s easy to understand why.

When the company’s beverage, Prime Hydration, launched in Scotland late last year it resulted in queues outside supermarkets as dedicated fans clamoured to get their hands on a bottle.

However, while Prime Hydration is suitable for children, Prime Energy comes with a warning that it should not be sold to or consumed by anyone under the age of 18.

This is because it contains high amounts of caffeine: 140mg per can in the UK.

That’s equivalent to two cups of coffee or around five cans of cola.

It’s what led the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to recall Prime Energy earlier this week.

Ahead of the product’s official launch in Canada, some retailers had been selling the version greenlit for the US market, which contains 200mg of caffeine per can.

The legal limit set for caffeinated drinks in Canada, however, is 180mg per serving.

But the issue for Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who recently called on the US Government’s Food and Drug Administration to investigate the product, isn’t purely the high caffeine content.

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It’s the swirling accusations that these products are being advertised to children.

“Current trends in energy drink consumption among children, particularly teenagers, is an area of significant concern for nutrition professionals,” said Ailsa McHardy, a freelance paediatric dietitian and lecturer in dietetics at Robert Gordon University.

“To date, the known physical effects of energy drinks are related to their caffeine content.

“Impacts of high caffeine intakes, which have been observed in children and young people, included increased blood pressure, sleep disturbance, headaches and abdominal symptoms.

“When we consider that many of the energy drinks available in the UK have caffeine levels well in excess of a double-shot coffee, it’s not difficult to see why.

“Energy drinks also contain an array of other additives, sweeteners and chemicals for which there is a lack of safety data in relation to high intakes in children.”

The National: Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has called for an investigation into Prime EnergyDemocratic Senator Chuck Schumer has called for an investigation into Prime Energy

The Scottish Government recently announced that it would not be pursuing a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children under-16, which was first floated as a possibility in 2019.

Minister for Public Health, Jenni Minto, said there wasn’t evidence to justify a mandatory ban, with the latest data for the UK suggesting that around 5-11% of those aged between 11-17 consume energy drinks every day.

Instead, the government will continue to support voluntary measures by retailers to keep these products out of the hands of children.

But that task undoubtedly becomes more difficult with Prime Energy.

Firstly, Prime Hydration and Prime Energy look nearly identical – they have the same flavours and same design (other than the fact that one comes in a bottle while the other is sold in a can).

The marketing ploy to keep demand high by aggressively promoting the product to KSI and Logan Paul’s more than 40 million YouTube subscribers while simultaneously keeping supply low led to Prime Hydration gaining an almost cult status (and being sold for eyewatering markups).

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“None of us need to look further than our local shops and supermarkets to be absolutely certain that children are buying these products or having them bought for them,” added McHardy.

“Regulation of how contents are labelled may go some way to addressing this.

“I’m sure many parents wouldn’t give their child a double espresso. But they may not be aware that some energy drinks available contain much more caffeine that this.”

Prime Energy perhaps epitomises the concern that has swirled around energy drinks for years – namely, that their attractiveness to children is unhealthy and even dangerous.

In May, reports emerged of a child in England suffering a “cardiac episode” after drinking a can of Prime Energy.

As such, it’s likely that it’s not just nutritionists who feel that allowing two of the world’s most popular celebrities amongst teenage boys to advertise an energy drink that shouldn’t be consumed by great swathes of their target audience represents a failure of regulation.

The company insists that their product comes with a warning label clearly identifying it as “not suitable for children under 18” and that it contains comparable levels of caffeine to its competitors.