THE HIGHLY CAFFEINATED Monster Energy Drink has been cited in five deaths and one non-fatal heart attack, according to reports that the US Food and Drink Administration is investigating.
The reports claim that people had adverse reactions after they consumed Monster Energy Drink, which comes in 24-once cans that contain seven times the amount of caffeine in a 12-ounce can of cola.
Jane Ryder of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) told TheJournal.ie that parents should “use common sense and keep an eye on their children and what they consume” and warned that the drinks should also be avoided by pregnant women or people with underlying medical problems.
“People wouldn’t normally let their children drink a load of cups of coffee so we would advice they keep these types of caffeinated drinks away from them as well,” she said.
News of the US investigation follows a filing last week of a wrongful death suit in California by the parents of a 14-year-old girl who died after drinking two 24-ounce cans of the energy drink.
An autopsy concluded that she died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity and the medical examiner also found that she had an inherited disorder that can weaken blood vessels. But the child’s parents claim Monster failed to warn about the risks of drinking its products.
Although the FDA is investigating the allegations, which date back to 2004, the agency said the reports don’t necessarily prove that the drinks caused the deaths or injuries.
“As with any reports of a death or injury the agency receives, we take them very seriously and investigate diligently,” Shelly Burgess, a FDA spokeswoman, said in a statement.
“Hardly tripping off the ceiling”
The FSAI said it was not looking into the safety of Monster, which is available in Ireland, but a spokesperson said many energy drinks have less caffeine in them than a cup of strong coffee and people are “hardly tripping off the ceiling on them”.
In Ireland, drinks companies are obliged to label anything with over 150mg of caffeine per litre with ‘high caffeine content’.
Monster Beverage Corp released a statement yesterday in response to media reports about the lawsuit saying it stands by the safety of its products.
“Monster is saddened by the untimely passing of Anais Forunier, and its sympathies to out to her family,” it said. “Monster does not believe that its products are in any way responsible for the death of Ms Fournier and intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit.”
Ryder said new European legislation will be introduced in December 2014 which will mean manufacturers have to display ‘not suitable for pregnant women or children’ on energy drinks cans.
- Additional reporting from Associated Press.