Government to ban all coffee sales in schoolsStarting in September, sales of highly caffeinated products, including coffee and energy drinks, will be prohibited in schools.
The rule will take effect on Sept. 14, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced on Thursday. The revision prohibits all schools - including elementary, middle and high schools - from selling highly caffeinated food and beverages in vending machines and snack bars.
Schools are already banned from selling such products to children and teenagers as a way to promote healthy diets, though teachers and other adults can still purchase them on school grounds.
However, after the new rule takes effect, all sales will be prohibited.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, notified schools of the plan and asked for their cooperation so it could be implemented without a hitch.
Caffeine is a substance found in the fruits, leaves and seeds of some plants, including coffee and tea. It affects the central nervous system, reducing fatigue and increasing focus. However, if a large amount is consumed at once, it can have side effects. Among teenagers, excessive caffeine intake can cause dizziness, heart palpitations, sleep disorders and nervousness.
The Korean government’s recommended daily intake of caffeine is 400 milligrams or less for adults and 300 milligrams or less for pregnant women. Children and teenagers should consume no more than 2.5 milligrams for each kilogram of their body weight. A teenager who weighs 50 kilograms (110 pounds) should consume no more than 125 milligrams of caffeine per day.
According to research conducted by the Seoul Institute for Health and Environment last year, the amount of caffeine in coffee drinks was 30 to 139 milligrams, 39 to 133 milligrams for coffee-flavored milk, 7 to 43 milligrams for soft drinks, 4 to 149 milligrams for energy drinks, and 9 to 80 milligrams for black tea beverages.
“Teenagers should be careful when drinking high-caffeine coffee and energy drinks,” the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said. “A teenager weighing 60 kilograms would exceed the recommended daily caffeine intake of 150 milligrams after just one canned coffee drink and one energy drink.”
BY LEE JI-YOUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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