Why was Red Bull banned in France? (the real story)

Red Bull Banned In France?

Red Bull getting banned in France sure raised some eyebrows.

Red Bull is no stranger in the energy drink industry. Known to many as the brand behind the high-risk adventures of extreme sports and most notably their slogan “Red Bull gives you wings”.

Red Bull’s repertoire extends beyond energy drinks to all sorts of extreme sports events such as the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

This is some seriously crazy cliff diving. But all I really care about is energy drinks.

They also own sports teams such as:

RB Leipzig 

A flag of Red Bull owned football club Rb Leipzig
RB Leipzig Red Bull-owned football club

Formula One’s Red Bull Racing.

Red Bull Racing F1 car dashing through the tracks
Red Bull Racing F1 car cruising around the track.

Moreover, Red Bull is also known for its celebrity endorsements.

Their unique marketing approach has managed to solidify their status in the energy drink hall of fame as the best energy drink of all time.

From humble beginnings in the mid-1980s by Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull has seen a tremendous rise in its market share over the years. 

In 2019, Red Bull now owns the highest market share amongst all energy drinks in the world with 6.7 Billion cans sold worldwide each year.

Amidst all this success why was Red Bull banned in France?

Red Bull getting banned

The banning of Red Bull by the French government was mainly due to concerns regarding health issues.

Dubbed the “clubbers drink”, Red Bull was often mixed with vodka and criticized due to its high levels of caffeine and taurine.

The active ingredients Taurine in Red Bull raised concerns amongst health officials in France who feared that it could increase heart rates to unsafe levels. 

Red Bull and its high caffeine levels are also linked to increasing the risk of miscarriage among pregnant women.

The popular energy drink that everyone has grown to know and love was also linked to several deaths. 

Ross Cooney whom after consuming three cans of Red Bull died of sudden adult death syndrome during a basketball match.

It was these types of concerns that led the French to Ban the Bull.

What countries have banned Red Bull?

Besides France, Denmark and Norway are also on the list of countries that have banned Red Bull. The ban stems from similar concerns in regards to the health issues surrounding Red Bull and its ingredients. 

France is not the only country that banned Red Bull.
France isn’t the only country to have banned Red Bull.

Is Red bull legal in France now?

Yes, after a seemingly dreadful 12-year ban, the French have now legalized Red Bull and it is now being sold. Until 2008, only a toned down version of the drink, containing no Taurine was sold in France. 

The ban was lifted in 2008 due to the absence of proof that Red Bull is harmful. European Union’s regulations state that unless proven harmful, products made in the EU can’t be prohibited in any member countries- including France.

Despite being legalized, the former French health minister Roselyne Bachelot remains skeptical about Red Bull’s safety. Red Bull was to be kept under close observation.

Red Bull was asked to include its negative side effects on the packaging of its products. This was intended to inform the public of the potential dangers of misuse or overconsumption.

What is Red Bull made off?

Each serving of 8.4 Fl.oz contains:

110 Calories

80mg Caffeine (fairly low compared to the world’s strongest energy drinks)

• 0 Fat

• 105mg Sodium

• 28g Total Carb

• Less than 1g Protein

• Niacin (100% of the daily recommended dosage)

• Vitamin B6 (250% of the daily recommended dosage)

• Vitamin B12 (80% of the daily recommended dosage)

• Pantothenic Acid (50% of the daily recommended dosage)

and small amounts of:

• Carbonated Water

• Sucrose

• Glucose

• Citric Acid

• Taurine

• Sodium Bicarbonate

• Magnesium Carbonate

• Caffeine

• Pyridoxine HCL

• Natural and Artificial Flavors and colors

Red Bull energy drink nutritional facts on the can
The nutritional facts of Red Bull energy drink

Is Red bull safe?

Despite many articles stating that the high levels of caffeine and acidity in Red Bull can be detrimental to your health, there isn’t enough evidence to prove that Red Bull is indeed harmful.

However, drinking excessive amounts of Red Bull can be detrimental to your health due to the high caffeine and sugar content.

Nevertheless, it’s always in your best interest to keep an eye on your consumption and only consume Red Bull in moderation.  

What are the side effects of drinking Red Bull?

Just like many other energy drinks, Red Bull will definitely give you the energy boost you need. However, Red Bull states that its product is able to give you a boost in energy and also focus.

There have been articles stating Red Bull also causes:

• Weight gain which might lead to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes

• Insomnia

• Chronic conditions such as tooth decay, osteoporosis, and heart arrhythmia

Is Red Bull worse for you than coffee?

Red Bull and coffee both contain caffeine.

But is Red Bull actually worse for you than your regular cup of Joe?

A cup of your regular joe has about 95mg of caffeine which compares to a 8.4 fl.oz can of Red Bull which only has 80mg.

Printing on Red Bull can indicating there is 80mg of caffeine
There is 80 mg of caffeine in a can of Red Bull.

Despite having a lower caffeine content than a cup of coffee is Red Bull actually better?

The safe levels of dosage for caffeine an average healthy adult can consume daily are set at 400 milligrams a day. Consuming a high dosage of caffeine in a day (more than 400mg) could be very dangerous.

The caffeine content in both Red Bull and a cup of coffee are both well below the daily limit and neither seem to pose a threat to your general health. 

It all boils down to one key ingredient…


Yes, that’s right! A can of Red Bull contains Taurine whereas coffee does not. There is no research suggesting that consuming Taurine has any negative long-term effects. 

Aside from Taurine, a can of Red Bull also contains a bunch of B vitamins that coffee does not. Coffee sometimes comes with sugar and creamers, but if drank black with no sugar there’s no denying that coffee can have considerable health benefits.

What is taurine?

Taurine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the human body and is an important component in the body’s metabolic processes. Taurine is mostly present in parts of the brain, eyes, heart and blood cells. 

The human body is capable of producing taurine naturally.

Taurine is also found in foods such as meat, fish, and dairy. Certain processed vegetarian foods contain taurine but it is highly unlikely that they will be sufficient for your daily taurine needs.

You will find Taurine being labeled or referred to as a “conditional amino acid” which means that it can be created by the body.

On the other hand, what are known as “essential amino acids”, cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from external sources like food.

Does the taurine in Red Bull come from bull semen?


The common misunderstanding seemingly stems from the fact that the name Taurine is obtained from the Latin word “Taurus”, meaning bull. 

It might seem hard to swallow (ahem!), but Taurine was once extracted from bull semen. The practice of extracting Taurine from bull semen has now been discontinued as it is now being synthetically manufactured. 

It’s worth noting that taurine derived from bull semen has never been included in any energy drink (to my knowledge). The taurine found in energy drinks all over the world (including Red Bull and REIZE) is synthesized in a lab

It is done by using sulfurous acid to chemically react with aziridine to produce Taurine. Taurine can also be synthesized through a series of chemical reactions.

Is taurine safe to consume?

There have been articles stating that Taurine is indeed safe for consumption and has a lot of benefits.

Most notably known for:

• Improving athletic performance

• Aiding patients with periodontal disease

Taurine is also known to:

• Possibly reduces Metabolic syndrome

• Potentially helps to reduce the downsides of Parkinson’s

• Possibly helps reduce cardiovascular diseases

At the moment Taurine is considered to be generally safe by Intertek Scientific and Regulatory Consultancy for use in enhanced water beverages.

What is the purpose of including Taurine?

When paired with caffeine, Taurine is said to be able to help to improve athletic and mental performance.

It is mainly also used to treat:

• Congestive heart failure (CHF)

• Liver disease (hepatitis)

How much taurine can I take?

Taurine dosage at 300mg-500mg is generally considered safe to consume daily. However, there isn’t much information regarding at what dosage levels Taurine would be considered potentially lethal.

Where to buy Red Bull

Red Bull is readily available almost everywhere on the planet. However, I prefer to buy almost everything online, and there are sometimes some good deals to be found on Amazon, so I recommend taking a look if you’re considering grabbing some of the world’s most famous energy drink anytime soon.

Alternatives to Red Bull Energy Drink

Some products like Red Bull
There are lots of great Red Bull alternatives out there.

If you’re looking for great alternatives to Red Bull to give you the kick you need (and aren’t banned in France!), there are a few great brands you can try:

• Rockstar 

Bang energy drink



Monster Import (it’s a little different compared to the original Monster)

Rip It energy drink

Bing energy 

Guru energy drink

Xyience drink

If you’re interested to see how Red Bull sizes up against Monster, check out my other article.

You could also consider caffeine pills if you’re looking for something quick and easy. Make it Mio by Kraft is also worth considering. 

If you’re thinking about trying something new like powder energy drinks, you can consider these: 



Advocare Spark 

• REIZE (10 out of 10)

Energy drink powders are overall cheaper and give you the exact same energy kick that you’ll get from many other energy drinks! – Check REIZE out for an energy powder drink that’s lower in caffeine, but still rich in Taurine and vitamins which is good for your overall health. 

REIZE ships right to your door for around $1 per drink, which is a lot cheaper than Red Bull. 

Give REIZE a try today and you might just find that REIZE is the best for your energy needs and health. 

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Marty Spargo

I started my own energy drink brand in 2014 and am passionate about educating people about energy drinks so that they can properly understand the ingredients, benefits and risks without being influenced by the marketing messages put out by some brands. You can read my full bio here.

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