WAITROSE is to ban sales of high-caffeine energy drinks to children under 16.

The supermarket said that from March 5 customers buying drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre would be asked to prove they are over 16 years of age.

The move follows calls by campaigners for a complete ban on the sale of energy drinks to children after findings showed their sugar and c a f f e i n e c o nt e nt remains high despite reformulation ahead of the soft drinks levy.

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Waitrose said its decision was built on existing industry labelling guidelines, which require any soft drink with more than 150mg of caffeine per litre to carry a high-caffeine content warning and state it is not recommended for children.

The British Soft Drinks Association introduced a voluntary code of practice in 2010 stating high-caffeine soft drinks should not b e p r o m o t e d o r marketed to those under 16.

Simon Moore, Waitrose director of technical and corporate social responsibility, said: “These drinks carry advice stating that they are not recommended for children, so we’re choosing to proactively act on that guidance.”