It’s the latest buzz. A proposed law in Suffolk County (Long Island) would ban sales to anyone under 19. Mayor Bloomberg has already outlawed 32-ounce sugar drinks, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Many convenience stores already turn teens away. I sent my 16 year old into a store recently to buy a can of Red Bull prior to a road trip. The clerk said no, send in your mom.
The parents of 14 year old Anais Fourier would have welcomed such a policy I’m sure. They are suing Monster Energy Drink maker in Riverside Superior Court for the death of their daughter. The lawsuit claims Annais drank a 24-ounce can of Monster Energy drink on December 16, 2011, and another the following day. She had a heart attack that evening and died six days later.
One Florida School District has banned energy drinks district wide. A Chicago alderman wants to ban sales of energy drinks within the city limits to anyone under 21. University of New Hampshire President Mark W. Huddleston announced a plan to ban energy drinks last year, but abandoned his plans after students protested via Twitter and Facebook.
The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the safety of energy drinks. The FDA confirms that 5-Hour Energy may be linked to the deaths of 13 people over the past four years. According to a recent FDA report, four other people may have died after drinking Monster Energy in the past three years. FDA Adverse Event Data can be found here: FDA Adverse Event Data. US Senators Dick Durbin and Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to the FDA requesting that the agency provide information on the “dangers” of caffeine and stimulants, particularly on young people. The FDA responded, assuring the senators that it will continue to study the matter, taking action as needed, and may “consider taking appropriate action with respect the labeling of these products, such as requiring disclosure of the amount of caffeine in food products, limitations on intended use, or warnings about possible adverse effects.” The text of the FDA’s response may be found here: FDA Response.
Energy drink makers are under scrutiny and facing litigation. A series of class action lawsuits have already been filed in Canada against the manufacturers of many popular energy drinks, including Red Bull, Full Throttle, Monster, Jolt, Amp and Rockstar. A class action suit against Monster Energy Company was filed this year in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, alleging violation of federal securities laws, for failing to disclose it had received a subpoena from a state attorney general in connection with an investigation concerning the Company’s alleged false advertising and marketing. Another class action was filed against Monster Energy Company in California Superior Court, Orange County for failure to warn consumers that Monster Rehab Green Tea + Energy Drink could cause chemical-driven liver damage. Adam Mirabella of Texas filed a class-action lawsuit against Vital Pharmaceuticals, Inc., makers of the energy drink Redline, claiming the product is unsafe and is marketed deceptively. He claims after one serving, he suffered extreme chest pain and nausea, that he lost sensation in his hands, that he was hospitalized for two days and required sedation.
Considering distributors and retailers often get thrown into the energy mix as named defendants, implementing an 18 and older policy might be prudent.