Incident reports filed with the Food and Drug Administration linking the energy drink Monster with five deaths in recent years have cast doubts on the safety of these highly caffeinated beverages. And rightly so. Other research suggests that more than 13,000 people a year visit U.S. emergency rooms because of symptoms associated with these drinks, and thousands more call regional poison control centers. And our tests of energy drinks, out today, found that, per serving, some energy drinks contain as much as twice the caffeine in a typical 8 oz cup of coffee. Often, labels don’t reveal the caffeine levels.
Energy drinks are found on the shelves of most convenience stores and rest stops, and their popularity continues to rise, especially among teenagers and young adults who appear to be the target audience of an omnipresent advertising campaign extolling the health and wellness benefits of these products.
The concerns about Monster stem from FDA reports released earlier this week. Today, the FDA confirmed that they are reviewing the reports of five fatalities and one heart attack, which “serve as a signal to FDA and do not prove causation between a product or ingredient and an adverse event.”