Should Health Canada regulate your coffee?

Amanda Shendruk takes a measure of your morning brew


Health Canada recently announced they will be regulating the amount of caffeine allowed in energy drinks. Now limited to 180 mg of caffeine per can, that’s significantly less stimulant than is in a small coffee from Second Cup.

In fact, you might be surprised at how much caffeine is found in some of the more commonly consumed brands of coffee: A single venti from Starbucks has 415 mg. That’s 15 mg more than Health Canada’s suggested daily limit of 400 mg.

Canadian adults get less than 10 per cent of their caffeine intake from energy drinks, but 60 per cent from coffee. So, why energy drinks in particular? Should Health Canada also start regulating the caffeine in your cup o’ joe?

Check out the chart below, which details the amount of caffeine in some of the more common coffee brands, and sound off in the comments.

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Should Health Canada regulate your coffee?

  1. Nice sideways insight into the energy-drink “controversy”. (I don’t consume’em, but I suspect they’ve got an undeservedly bad reputation.)

    My understanding is that the variation of caffeine content among cups of (especially brewed) coffee can be enormous. The venti Starbucks may have a nominal 415 mg but I believe it can much higher (eek!) or lower depending on how that urn is made, the blend of coffee, etc.

  2. I just turned 58 and know how to eat, know how to drink and know how to go to the bathroom by myself. Thanks but no thanks

    • Nicely put.

    • I doubt that Health Canada has any desire to regulate your bowel movements or your caffeine consumption, Brian because as you said you are an adult. The problem with the energy drinks is that they were marketed to children and consumed in LARGE quantities by said children. Many were pre-adolescents whose parents likely had no idea that the drinks posed any risk. It is no different than have a minimum age for purchasing cigarettes. There is no reason however, that people should be unaware of what they are consuming and so she know the calories, caffeine, etc. in these drinks they are purchasing at restaurants. All of this information is posted in the US Starbucks restaurants etc. It does give one pause when they realize a Venti mocha latte has almost 600 calories in it.

  3. They should regulate the FAT and SUGAR that some of these specially-made coffees put in your body.

    • Why? If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

    • Hey you can always get a skim milk latte that is sweetened with sugar. You are looking at approx. 160 calories v. 560 calories for the full on fat and sugar option.

  4. All of this is Health Canada bureaucrats trying to justify their jobs in their own socialistic government knows best fantasy world existence.

  5. Regulating coffee would, as most have pointed out, be an idiotic thing to do.

    That said, I do like having this kind of information, so some form of labelling regulation seems fine to me. I was surprised that these energy drinks aren’t ALREADY required to disclose the amount of caffeine they contain to consumers. People can make their own decisions about this sort of thing, of course, but giving people the information they need to make an informed decision seems reasonable to me.

    It had never occurred to me, personally, that a single medium coffee from Second Cup is basically my entire healthy limit of caffeine for the DAY. That’s good to know.

    • Yes, I agree. Knowledge is important. It is hard to make good decisions without it. As I mentioned earlier, laws in the US require places like Starbucks, etc. to post info about calories, etc on the menu board next to every item.

  6. All we need is a bunch of idiots in the government telling us what to drink its about time we had a Tea Party in Canada I am sick of being told what to do ,when to do it, then giving my tax money to Indian Bands who waste it The government is full of people who cant get a productive job so Suck Off The Taxpayer. They should regulate IQ before coming into politics.

    • They should regulate grammar before posting on the internet as well.

  7. I don’t think we need to regulate caffeine in coffee or other beverages because not all people react to caffeine in the same way so comparing one person’s intake of caffeine to another person’s caffeine intake isn’t always valid and a lot of people need caffeine to get going in the morning and if they don’t get going they just stay put and do nothing and aren’t active so caffeine is actually a good thing for their daily lives and they just have to have a coffee or they’re just done or (like me) they get a MASSIVE headache if they don’t get a coffee and me taking the day off with a headache isn’t going to do me or anybody else any good even though some people say I drink too much coffee and get hyperactive after my sixth cup but it’s not true nope nope nope.

  8. The chart shows a “MacDonald’s” large coffee. Is the coffee similar to McDonald’s, or very different?