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Canada recalls six energy drinks, including Prime, for caffeine and labeling violations, but some companies say there’s a catch

<i>Government of Canada</i><br/>The Canadian government is recalling energy drinks for having more than the legal amount of caffeine.
Government of Canada
The Canadian government is recalling energy drinks for having more than the legal amount of caffeine.

By Brenda Goodman, CNN

(CNN) — The government of Canada is recalling six brands of energy drinks, including Prime, over their caffeine content and labeling violations.

Canada sets a legal limit on caffeine in energy drinks of 180 milligrams in a single-serving can. Prime Energy, the trendy energy drink made by YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI, contains 200 milligrams per 12-ounce can – nearly six times as much as in a regular Coca-Cola – and thus violates that country’s limits for supplemented foods.

In a video posted on Instagram, Paul addressed the Canadian recall, saying in part, “The crazy part about that is we don’t even distribute Prime Energy in Canada.” Paul says any Prime Energy on store shelves in Canada is the result of illegal or unauthorized imports. He further says that his drinks “are compliant with each specific country’s regulatory bodies.”

5-Hour Energy told CNN that its product that is subject to the Canadian recall – a drink sold in 16-oz. cans – is also the result of unauthorized imports.

“The 16 oz version is not sold in Canada through any authorized channels, but if you purchased a 16 oz version of 5-hour ENERGY® in Canada, please return it along with a legible receipt to: Hilary’s Salesmaster, Inc., 565 Edgeley Blvd., Concord, Ontario L4K464,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Celsius too says the products recalled in Canada are being illegally imported.

“We don’t ship or authorize the distribution of Celsius products in Canada, if we ever do in the future, we would be fully compliant with Health Canada regulations,” the company said in an email to CNN.

Sting’s parent company said in a statement, “PepsiCo follows the regulations set out by the countries it sells in. PepsiCo Canada does not sell or import STING in Canada.”

In response, the Canadian government says it is taking action on unauthorized imports.

“Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are aware that some stores in Canada may be selling Prime Energy without approval, and we are actively working to address this issue,” said Marie-Pier Burelle, a spokesperson for Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, in a statement.

In addition to violating Canada’s regulations on caffeine content, the agency says, these brands ran afoul of the country’s bilingual labeling laws, which require information on foods in French and English.

Other brands affected by the recall are 3D Alphaland and GFuel, which did not respond to a request for comment.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called on the US Food and Drug Administration to investigate Prime Energy products, saying they have more caffeine than is safe for child consumption yet are popular with kids and teens. The agency says it is reviewing his concerns.

The FDA says healthy adults can consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine daily without any harm, but there is no set limit for children and teens. The American Academy of Pediatrics says kids younger than 12 should avoid caffeine altogether. It further says energy drinks pose a health risk to kids and adolescents because of their stimulants and shouldn’t be used in this age group.

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