CHINA – The food safety authority of China, the National Health Commission (NHC) Food Safety Standards and Monitoring and Evaluation Department has permitted the use of vitamins B1 and B2 in beverages and has also increased the maximum authorized dosage of taurine.

Previously, vitamins B1 and B2 were allowed to be incorporated as food additives into dairy powder for children and pregnant women, as well as soy powder, soymilk powder, soy milk, gum base candy, rice, and products made from rice, etc.

The Chinese authorities are expanding the use of vitamins B1 and B2 in beverages for special purposes, such as sports and nutrition drinks, with an approved dosage of these vitamins set at 2mg/kg to 5mg/kg.

Authorities from other countries, such as the US FDA, EU, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) have approved the use of these vitamins in foods, NHC said in the notice.

“…. the overall prevalence of vitamin B1 in bestselling ED (energy drinks) and ES (energy shots) is only 1.3%, with an average content of 25% of the Daily Value (DV) per serving, corresponding to ~0.3 mg,” said the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) in March, adding that the vitamin did not appear to produce toxicity even at high doses.

For taurine, the NHC is increasing the maximum permitted dosage of taurine from 0.5g/kg to 0.6g/kg for use in beverages for special purposes.

 In China, taurine is currently approved for use in beverages for special purposes such as sports and nutritional drinks. Taurine is a type of amino acid found in meat and seafood, among others, and is a popular ingredient around the world for many energy drinks.

The news follows a review released in April by Chinese researchers that suggested supplementation with appropriate doses of taurine may help to reduce visual fatigue.

Taurine is an amino acid that has a few important roles in your body, including supporting immune health and nervous system function.

The review said that taurine has a high safety profile and is allowed to be added to functional drinks and other food products in many countries.

It added that its application in the development of functional foods for the relief of visual fatigue is very promising. ISSN said Taurine has been shown to improve endurance exercise performance.

In 2020, Red Bull–known for its taurine beverages–was named the best-selling energy drink brand in stores in China, according to Statista, accounting for around 52% of all energy drinks sales.

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