Congress Urges FDA to Examine Monster Energy Drink Claims

Two United States Senators, Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), have entered the controversy surrounding the energy drink supplement market and are urging the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) (www.fda.gov) to step up its investigation of deaths potentially linked to the Monster Energy Drink.

Additionally, several consumer groups are also pushing for tighter regulation of the industry. Energy drinks are classified as nutritional supplements rather than food products, which allows the manufacturers of energy drinks to follow different, and less strict, regulations.

FDAConsumer Reports tested 27 energy drinks that are currently on the market. The study looked at the actual caffeine levels contained in each beverage and at the labeling provided on the can. The study found that 20% of the products had higher caffeine levels than was stated on the label for consumers. The Monster Energy Drink, which comes in a 24-ounce can was found to contain 240 milligrams of caffeine. This is seven times more than a 12-ounce can of traditional cola. The group also found that many of the drinks contained ingredients that were not listed. Consumer Reports has concluded that consumers could not rely on product labeling or marketing to know what, in fact, they were drinking.

Deaths Linked to High Levels of Caffeine Consumption

Recently, several reports have surfaced regarding a potential link between the consumption of energy drinks and death due to caffeine toxicity which can lead to cardiac arrest.

Earlier this year, a Maryland family filed a lawsuit against Monster Beverage Company claiming that the drink was responsible for the death of their 14-year-old daughter. The teenager died after consuming two of the beverages in a 24-hour period. The suit claims that the teenager died due to caffeine toxicity and that the product contained insufficient warnings, especially as related to consumption by teenagers and young adults.

The controversy surrounding the energy beverage market and its marketing practices aimed at young people is rapidly heating up.

In addition to FDA scrutiny, the New York State Attorney General and the San Francisco, Calif. City Attorney are also investigating Monster and several other energy drink manufacturers. Specifically, the product injury lawyers want to know more about the advertising claims for better health and energy. California state law requires marketers to back up their marketing claims and be able to prove that its statements are not false.

Evidence is still pending further scrutiny and tightening regulations for energy beverage manufacturers may seem certain.