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On August 17, 2023, an amendment to the Public Health Act was passed, introducing a ban on the sale of energy and energizing drinks to minors and restricting their sale in certain places and manners.

What are energy and energizing drinks?

According to the newly added Article 12l of the Public Health Act, a drink containing caffeine or taurine is considered an energy or energizing drink when the content of caffeine exceeds 150 mg/l or contains taurine, excluding substances naturally occurring in the beverage. It’s important to note that any drink containing taurine falls under the category of energy or energizing drinks according to the provisions of the law.

What prohibitions will apply to the sale of energy and energizing drinks starting from January 1, 2024?

Starting from January 1, 2024, the sale of drinks with added caffeine or taurine is prohibited:

  • To individuals under 18 years of age,
  • Within the premises of educational institutions,
  • Through vending machines.

The ban on the sale of energy and energizing drinks through vending machines is due to the inability to verify the age of the purchaser when using vending machines.

Sellers are authorized to request proof of the buyer’s age when there are doubts about their legal age.

Obligation to label drinks, but with permitted advertising

The producer or importer of a drink containing caffeine or taurine will be required to label the individual packaging of the beverage with a visible, legible, and non-removable and durable message stating ‘energy drink’ or ‘energizing drink’.

The legislator has not provided any transitional regulations for drinks produced before the amended provisions come into effect that do not have the required labeling.

Despite initial discussions during the drafting of the bill, the legislator decided not to impose a ban on advertising energy drinks on television, in cinemas, theaters, and on the radio between 6:00 AM and 8:00 PM. The ban also won’t apply to youth and children’s press, newspaper and magazine covers, as well as columns and notice boards.

What sanctions will be imposed for violating the ban on selling energy and energizing drinks?

The sale of drinks containing caffeine or taurine in violation of the law will be subject to a fine of up to 2,000 Polish zlotys. This penalty will also apply to the manager of the sales point who fails to supervise and allows the sale of an energy drink to an unauthorized person.

Furthermore, the forfeiture of energy drinks may be ordered.

Importing or producing energy drinks in non-compliant packaging will result in a fine of up to 200,000 Polish zlotys or a sentence of restricted liberty.

The new regulations will come into effect on January 1, 2024.