A recent incident report published by the United States Food and Drug Administration indicates that there have been 5 deaths and 1 non-fatal heart attack after consuming the popular energy beverage Monster Engergy. The information was published under the Freedom of Information Act when the mother of a 14-year-old girl sued the company for being a after her daughter died after drinking the over sized cans on two consecutive days in December.
The FDA reported that no conclusion has been made in terms of the link between the injuries
and the energy drink. Currently, the FDA does not require beverage manufacturers to disclose the level of caffeine in their products. These manufacturers also have complete free will when marketing their products as regular drinks or as dietary supplements. However, many congressional members, such as Illinois senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are urging the FDA to implement caffeine limits on energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar. This, after emergency room visits due to energy drinks has increased 10-fold from 2005 to 2009 when visits reached 13,114. Most alarming, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is reporting that many of these visits are accompanied by drugs and alcohol.
The lawsuit, filed in Riverside, California, alleges that Anais Fournier died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity after consuming two 24 ounce cans in a period of two days. Fournier had been suffering from an inherited disorder that can weaken blood vessels. However, the mother is contending that the beverage maker failed to warn consumers about the inherent risks of the energy drink. Monster Beverage Corporation deems Monster energy drink as a “killer energy brew” and as “the meanest energy drink on the planet.” At the same time, the company argues that it adequately warns consumers of the dangers by including labels that warn that the drinks are not suitable for children or individuals sensitive to caffeine.
Responding to the incident report, FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess stated that responsibility lies with drink manufacturers to investigate reports of death or injuries related to energy drinks. Yet, requiring beverage makers to police themselves may not work. An average can of soda generally contains as much as 70 milligrams of caffeine for every 12 ounces. Energy drinks, on the other hand, might exceed more than 500 milligrams of caffeine for every 12 ounces of drink. The two drinks consumed by the late Ms. Fournier contained a combined 480 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of nearly 14 cans of Coca-Cola.