Mountain Dew Energy

Until this year, Mountain Dew in Canada has contained no caffeine. Americans typically have a hard time understanding this, and reasonably so, and people wonder why we’d drink it at all (the answer, of course, is “we were 12, and it’s full of sugar”). There is some legal reason that Mountain Dew doesn’t contain caffeine here, but so many people have their own little pet theory about what that law is that it’s firmly in urban legend territory. But there it is on the shelf, looking identical to the American formulation but with no caffeine. Not even “Caffeine-Free Mountain Dew”, but just “Mountain Dew”, hold the caffeine.

But no more.

I picked up a bottle of Mountain Dew Energy today. It’s Mountain Dew with caffeine, and it’s marketed as a sports drink, like Red Bull is here. And caffeine it has, 91 mg per 591 mL (20 oz) bottle, exactly the same as the American Mountain Dew, 15 mg more than a Coke. And it’s real chemical caffeine, listed as “caffeine” on the label, not guarana. What makes it strange is that in order to be marketed as a sports drink it has to be labeled like a drug. The front reads

Mountain Dew Energy
Energy Drink
Natural Health Product

Mmm. Refreshing, natural Mountain Dew. It almost sounds like it comes from a real mountain! The “natural health product” part is the new-in-2004 category that makes caffeinated Mountain Dew legal, by the way. But the best parts are on the back:

Recommended use: Developed for periods of increased mental and physical exertion. Helps temporarily restore mental alertness and wakefulness when experiencing fatigue and drowsiness.

Recommended dose: Adults: Drink 591 mL (1 bottle) as needed.

Medicinal ingredient: per 591 mL: 91mg caffeine.

Non-medicinal ingredients: [usual Mountain Dew ingredients list, I think. The second ingredient is concentrated orange juice. One of the later ingredients is "brominated vegetable oil".]

Cautions: Contains caffeine. Not recommended for children, pregnant or breast-feeding women, or caffeine sensitive persons. Do not consume more than 1000 mg caffeine per day.

Lot number and expiry date on bottle above label.

It’s good to know that the government is enabling me to take my dose of my caffeinated Mountain Dew safely. (Incidentally, this bottle expires on October 3, 2005.) Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail asks, “Won’t you think of the children?

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