The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the safety of popular
energy drinks, after five people have reportedly died after consuming
drinks made by Monster Beverage.
The investigation was prompted by a wrongful death lawsuit pending here
in California. The parents of Anais Fournier claim that Monster energy
drinks are responsible for the death of their 14-year-old daughter. Fournier
went into cardiac arrest after drinking two cans of the beverage, according
to the suit. Her autopsy report attributed her death to “cardiac
arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity.”
The FDA has cautioned that it has not yet found a causal link between the
energy drinks and the reported deaths. However, concerns over the safety
of these products are mounting.
As reported to the
Los Angeles Times, a 2011 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
classified energy-drink consumption as a growing public health concern
because of the negative side effects of excessive caffeine consumption.
Emergency room visits related to energy drinks jumped from 1,128 in 2005
to 13,114 in 2009, according to the report.
Congress is also calling on the FDA to investigate the safety of the high
caffeine levels and other additives in energy drinks. Although the agency
can regulate the amount of caffeine in other beverages like soda, most
energy drinks do not currently fall under FDA regulation because they
are classified as dietary supplements. However, should the risks of these
products be confirmed, many are hoping that new regulations will be imposed,
including warning labels.