Calls to authorities to regulate energy drinks are becoming more and more fervent now that other countries are taking their own steps to regulate the industry and the Food and Drug Administration has released information pertaining to reports of fatalities following the consumption of energy drinks.
Earlier this week, the FDA released documentation showing that they had received five incident reports in which someone died after drinking Monster Energy. A link between the drink and the fatalities has not been proven at this time, and Monster contends that there in fact is no evidence that shows their product is not safe for consumption.
But one mother disagrees. Her teenage daughter died last December shortly after consuming two cans of Monster within a 24 hour period. The death was due to a heart arrhythmia that occurred shortly thereafter. She has filed a lawsuit against the Corona-based company, and it was this same person whose Freedom of Information Act request led to the reports mentioned above being released.
If some type of regulation gets passed, which is exactly what’s being urged by members of Congress, the move would not be without precedent. Various countries are looking into what they can do to limit caffeine levels in such drinks, which typically are not listed or required to be listed.
Canada is one country cracking down on levels of caffeine. At the end of this year, all energy drinks will be required to hold their caffeine amount below 180 milligrams. That means that products like Red Bull and Monster will have to reduce their current level of caffeine in order to be sold to Canadian customers.
Even though many medical professionals believe that a healthy adult would have no problem taking in up to 400 milligrams of caffeine on a daily basis, the effect of so much caffeine on a teenager is more in question. And persons with heart conditions might be more susceptible to certain risks. An expert on caffeine from Johns Hopkins states that heightened amounts of caffeine consumption by a teenager could at least lead to shifts in mood and behavior as they get lifted up but then crash back down.
Right now, no regulatory policies exist for energy drinks in this country. The FDA’s dietary supplement division’s director says that even the label ‘energy drink’ is simply a marketing term. But with reportedly more than 12,000 emergency room visits connected to energy drink usage in 2009, and the industry beginning to outpace even soda sales in some areas, many people think that regulators in the United States might soon need to step in to protect American consumers.