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FDA Investigating Safety of Energy Drinks

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.