Health Canada Could Restrict How Much Alcohol is in Your Drink

The federal health minister is looking at regulating sugary alcoholic drinks sold across Canada.

A new proposal aims to protect youth following the death of a teen in Laval, Que.

Athena Gervais, 14, was missing for three days before she was found in a stream near her school on March 1.

She had been drinking a caffeinated, high-alcohol beverage called FCKD UP with an alcohol rate of 11.9 per cent.

The Quebec-based company, Geloso Group, has since halted production.

It’s the right thing to do,” said co-president Aldo Geloso in a statement released on March 4, adding, “in this context, our company is ready to play a leading role in this process and in seeking the implementation of new control mechanisms so that such a tragedy never repeats itself.”

The federal government is suggesting reducing the amount of sweeteners in the drink so that the taste of alcohol isn’t masked, or reducing the size of the cans.

The alcohol content in these drinks is between 7 per cent and 12 per cent and they’re sold in large-volume, non-resealable containers with colourful packaging.

Cheap drinks “are aggressively marketed in a manner that appeals to youth,” reads a news release issued Monday.

Some of these products can contain as much alcohol as four glasses of wine, according to the feds.

I am deeply concerned by the increasing availability and appeal of single-serve highly sweetened, high-alcohol beverages and by the increasing number of youth admitted to hospital after drinking these products,” said Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

She said she has directed Health Canada to immediately take action in two areas to help reduce the risk these products pose to the health and safety of Canadians.

First, Health Canada will introduce a proposal for consultation to amend the Food and Drug Regulations to restrict the alcohol content of single-serve highly sweetened alcoholic beverages.

A meeting will be held in the coming weeks with provincial and territorial governments as well as key stakeholders to discuss collective measures, including on advertising, marketing, and labelling, to reduce the risks of these products.

Health Canada says it’s committed to reducing the risk of these products to Canadians’ health and encourages industry and all interested parties to provide feedback by May 3.

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