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Publication Date : 30-07-2013
Research in Taiwan shows that coffee served at many outlets exceed healthy caffeine levels
A large-sized cup of coffee may contain too much caffeine, said Taiwan's Department of Consumer Protection (DCP).
The DCP stated that the European Union Scientific Committee on Food estimated that humans should only ingest less than 300 milligrammes of caffeine daily.
The department had previously issued a guideline to urge coffee outlets to use coloured markings to identify the contents of freshly brewed coffee.
Under the guideline, a red marking indicates that the amount of caffeine in the product exceeds 201mg, a yellow marking shows between 101mg to 200 mg of caffeine, and a green marking indicates less than 100mg of caffeine.
In a joint research, the DCP and Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration tested 80 coffee samples from 20 outlets including coffee houses, franchises, fast-food restaurants and convenience stores. They also conducted inspections on whether the coffee outlets adhered to the coloured-markings guideline.
The research showed that only four out of 10 businesses followed the guideline.
The average amount of caffeine found in common coffee beverages (for every 100ml) is 48.7mg for an Americano (black coffee mixed with water) and 36.8mg for a latte (coffee with milk).
The research also found that the same type of coffee beverage brewed at different outlets produced contained different caffeine levels. A DCP official suggested that this was due to the types of brewing machines or coffee beans used.
While there are no laws in Taiwan requiring coffee brewers and distributors to indicate the caffeine content in their products, the department suggested that the Ministry of Health and Welfare take steps to ensure coffee businesses disclosed the caffeine content in their products, as well as educate the public on the matter.
According to several local reports, a DCP officer said that authorities have only asked large coffee franchises to follow the guideline, as these large businesses had given samples of their products to be tested by the authorities.
Small businesses, however, have managed to evade the guideline, but will soon be expected to adhere to them as awareness grows among consumers.
Another officer revealed that some consumers misinterpreted the coloured markings, making them out to be indicators of the popularity of the product, rather than the amount of caffeine it contained. The officer said that coffee outlets have the responsiblity to ensure their customers understood what the markings meant.
The Ikari coffee franchise in Taiwan was found serving coffee with the highest caffeine level. The company said that the coffee they used was imported from Italy, where coffee beans are known to contain higher levels of caffeine.
The franchise suggested that brewing methods also contributed to the amount of caffeine in coffee, and that the investigations were carried out before the company adjusted their coffee machines.