Chip shop bans sale of energy drinks to children

Dante Cortellessa with some of the drinks. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Dante Cortellessa with some of the drinks. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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The owner of a Capital chippie has been leading the charge in restricting the sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to children.

Dante Cortellessa, 41, who owns the Jubilee takeaway in West Granton Road, said it was “responsible” to bring in the ban, after he became concerned about the quantity children were buying.

He has found himself ahead of the curve, with big supermarkets being urged to bring a national policy of not selling the drinks, such as Rockstar and Red Bull, to children.

Earlier this month, Labour councillor Norma Austin Hart launched a campaign encouraging major retailers to review their policies on the sale of energy drinks to under-13s.

The drinks are marked as not being recommended for children, and their sale is banned in Scottish schools, yet youngsters can still easily purchase them from shops.

Mr Cortellessa began his ban on sales to under-16s four months ago and said the response has been very positive.

He said: “I’ve lived in this area since I was a child myself and I’ve now got two children of my own. I just felt very uncomfortable when I saw kids as young as nine coming in and getting these drinks, sometimes even buying two or three cans at a time. I didn’t feel right about taking the money and then sending them back to their parents to deal with, so I decided to adopt more of a responsible attitude.

“A few people have asked if the law has been changed, and I’ve said that no, this was a personal decision. But the feedback has been very good, especially from parents. And I’ve had no problems from my younger customers either.”

Cllr Hart, who has written to Scotmid, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl and Iceland about the Responsible Retailers of Energy Drinks campaign, said they could learn a lot from Mr 

She said: “He’s a star, and is setting a great example that the supermarkets would do well to follow.”

Energy drinks are high in sugars, caffeine and taurine, an organic acid and a major constituent of bile found in the large intestine.

The Responsible Retailers of Energy Drinks campaign is asking that shopkeepers stack energy drinks on higher shelves, place advisory notices in stores and on online orders of energy drinks, and provide training and guidance for staff. Campaigners have also suggested age checks on youngsters who may be under 13.

Mr Cortellessa, who has a son, Angelo, 11, and daughter Morena, five, said: “It’s not for me to tell anyone how to run their business, but I think not selling these drinks to children is the responsible thing to do.”