Mix of alcohol and caffeine in cross-border debate between Australian States

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 27th August 2012

Australian Food News previously reported on the follow-up to the death of a Melbourne teenager Sara Milosevic, who died in June 2011 following consumption of three cans of a caffeinated alcoholic beverage.

The New South Wales Coroner’s Court is now being asked to obtain information from the Victorian Coroner’s Court to review the autopsy of Sara Milosevic, following concerns raised by her family. The Age newspaper reported in Melbourne the Victorian Coroner’s Court investigation  in progress, noting that no attempt was being made in Victoria to quantify the amount of the energy drink that had been consumed by Sara Milosevic, as the drink had not been implicated in her death.

The New South Wales Food Authority has been pushing at a national level for a tougher regulatory approach to caffeinated alcoholic drinks. The issue is on the national agenda of the ministerial Forum that discusses food standards and regulations for Australia.

In January 2012, Australian Food News reported on a University of Sydney study which emphasised the increased caffeine toxicity from energy drink consumption in Australia, particularly amongst adolescents.

A University of Tasmania study , released last week and to be published in the November 2012 of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, shows the authors’ research has found that consuming caffeinated alcoholic beverages “may provide a double-edged effect”: whilst there is “increased stimulation from energy drinks”, this may negate some of the sedation usually associated with intoxication, since one feels more alert. The study abstract says that these matters raise concerns about “potential increases in maladaptive drinking practices, negative psychological and physiological intoxication side effects, and risky behavioral outcomes.”