October 18, 2017

Senators Say FDA is Taking Energy Drink Concerns Seriously

This week, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) said they are confident that the FDA is taking their concerns about energy drinks seriously. Those products have been in the news because they have been associated with illnesses and death. In October, Monster Beverages was sued over a 14-year-old child’s death. She developed a heart arrythmia after drinking cans of the product.

In a statement, the Senators said, “at our meeting the FDA made it clear it is moving forward in a number of areas to protect vulnerable populations against high levels of caffeine in energy drinks. The energy drink makers are mistaken if they believe they have escaped regulatory oversight to safeguard consumer health.

“We urged the FDA to convene an expert panel, as quickly as possible but no later than early in the new year, to discuss the effects of consumption of caffeine and other stimulants by consumers. We also requested that the FDA take swift action regarding findings that a number of energy drinks contain at least 20 percent more caffeine than the products’ labels disclosed. We believe that these mislabeled products require enforcement action.”

A report released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that energy drinks pose potentially serious health risks. The FDA received 13 adverse event reports of fatalities following the consumption of 5-Hour Energy drinks. The FDA is also investigating five deaths that occurred following the consumption of Monster energy drinks.

The senators would like the FDA to identify and recommend remedies for loopholes in the current law that are “exploited by energy drink manufacturers in order to avoid oversight.” They would also like the government to look at possible interaction between caffeine and stimulants in energy drinks and assess health risks posed by the products in children and teens.

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