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Proposal would ban energy drinks in Chicago

  • Ald. Ed Burke (14th) fixes his tie during a City Council meeting last month.
Ald. Ed Burke (14th) fixes his tie during a City Council meeting last month. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune )
January 17, 2013|By Leonor Vivanco, @lvivanco | RedEye

UPDATE: A previous version of this story listed Red Bull as a product that would be banned under a city council proposal. The current version clarifies that an 8.4-ounce can contains 80 milligrams of caffeine.

Forget about pounding hardcore energy drinks.

Ald. Edward Burke (14th) wants to ban highly caffeinated energy drinks in the city.

He introduced an ordinance on Thursday to make it unlawful to "sell, give away, barter, exchange or otherwise furnish any energy drink." Period.

An energy drink is defined in the proposal as a canned or bottled beverage that contains at least 180 milligrams of caffeine and contains Taurine or Guarana. An 8.4-ounce can of Red Bull, according to Consumer Reports, contains about 80 milligrams of caffeine. Products including 5-hour Energy, Monster X-presso and Rockstar Energy Shot exceed the limits defined in the ordinance.

Burke's measure takes an ordinance proposed in November by a couple of aldermen one step further.

Ald. George Cardenas (12th) and William Burns (4th) only wanted to ban the energy drinks for people under 21 years old. The proposal never advanced.

Burke proposes no age limitations in the ordinance.

The proposed ordinance, which is referred to the City Council Committee on Health and Environmental Protection, would set a fine of $100 to $500 for retailers. Repeat offenses could result in suspension or revocation of city-issued business licenses.

The committee would need to advance the proposal in order for it to go to the City Council for approval.


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