Product News and Recalls

Lawmakers already had concerns about energy drink

On Oct. 22, reports came out linking Monster Beverage Corp.’s energy drinks to five deaths.

But federal lawmakers had already been pressuring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to consider limiting the amount of caffeine in energy drinks after emergency room visits involving such products jumped 10-fold from 2005 through 2009, Bloomberg reports.

And according to an article in Forbes, Senators Dick Durbin and Richard Blumenthal, Democrats of Illinois and Connecticut, also want to determine the consequences of combining caffeine and other common additives such as taurine and guarana.

Durbin and Blumenthal, who also urged the FDA to distinguish the health effects of large caffeine doses on adults and youth, expressed those concerns in a letter to the agency in September. Weeks earlier, New York‘s attorney general had revealed an investigation into the marketing and health concerns from the drinks.

The FDA reports are being used by parents in Maryland who sued Monster last week, claiming the drinks led to caffeine toxicity that killed their 14-year-old daughter. Anais Fournier had consumed two Monster drinks, according to a copy of the complaint filed Oct. 17 in state court in Riverside, California.

Bloomberg says the five deaths were among 37 adverse reaction reports since 2004 that mentioned Monster drinks. They were compiled from a log of incidents that health professionals, companies and the public voluntarily recorded with the FDA. The agency has said it’s working on draft guidelines that would ensure energy drinks are safe.

The FDA has stated that the deaths are merely allegations, and no proven link with the energy drink had been established.

Shares of the Corona, California-based Monster fell the most since 2008 — a 14 percent drop to $45.73 at the close of New York trading, erasing all the gains the stock had made this year, Bloomberg reported.

Monster, the largest U.S. energy drink maker by sales volume, sold about $1.6 billion worth of such drinks last year, the majority of company revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its energy drink sales have tripled since 2006.

See the Forbes story here:

See the Bloomberg story here: