Product News and Recalls

Reports of deaths revive energy drinks controversy

A wrongful death lawsuit against Monster Beverage Corp., and a recently released report indicating that the drink may have been responsible for five deaths, have reignited safety concerns about highly caffeinated “energy drinks,” ABC News reports.

The lawsuit was filed by the parents of Anais Fournier, a 14-year-old Maryland girl who drank two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy on two consecutive days last December before going into cardiac arrest. Medical examiners determined that the caffeine caused her irregular heartbeat, although she had already been suffering from a genetic heart disorder.

Fournier’s mother filed a Freedom of Information Act request for files from the federal Food and Drug Administration, which stated that 18 hospitalizations and five deaths have been reported in connection with Monster Energy drinks since 2004.

But the reports don’t say whether the victims had underlying health problems, and FDA officials made it clear that they don’t indicate a definitive link between the drink and the deaths.

Death by caffeine is possible, ABC News says.

The report quotes Dr. Christopher Holstege, director of toxicology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, as saying the amount of caffeine Fournier consumed wouldn’t ordinarily be deadly. But the potential of caffeine to be lethal depends on a number of factors such as a person’s weight, medications and underlying health conditions.

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