Category Archives: Monster Energy

Another win for health-conscious consumers … Monster Energy changes its labeling

FoodFacts.com has done more than a few blog posts recently regarding the dangers inherent in energy drinks. Many of the energy drinks being marketed today are labeled as dietary supplements, not beverages. Because of this, the requirements for their labeling are quite a bit different than your average beverage.

Monster Beverage Corp. has stated that it will be changing the labeling on its products so that its energy drinks will no longer be considered dietary supplements. This decision changes the federal guidelines the drinks must follow. The products will now list “Nutrition Facts,” instead of “Supplement Facts” and will now disclose caffeine content for the beverages.

This change is a result of the allegations made against various energy drink manufacturers last year. There have been lawsuits filed against manufacturers regarding both deaths and hospitalizations allegedly related to the consumption of these products. Lawmakers have called on the Food and Drug Administration to look into the safety of the caffeine levels as well as other ingredients included in the drinks. And it also illustrates consumer confusion regarding the labeling of energy drinks because the manufacturers have the option of categorizing them as dietary supplements or regular beverages as they see fit.

Manufacturers have greater freedom with the ingredients that can be included in dietary supplements. A regular beverage can only include ingredients that are approved food additives – those that are “generally recognized as safe. The lawmakers that have asked the FDA for further exploration of the safety of energy drinks have cited issues regarding their ingredients. These products can currently contain ingredients that are not well known. As an example taurine is used in some of Monster’s products. This ingredient is not approved for use in food and beverages and is not included in the database of ingredients “generally recognized as safe.”

The FDA is currently working on new rules for the qualifications of a beverage vs. a dietary supplement. It’s important to note that the agency issued guidance in 2009 that specified that dietary supplements were being marketed in such a fashion that they could be perceived as regular beverages. By using terms like “drink,” “juice” or “beverage, consumers could easily become confused by the product.

While there’s a lot left to find out regarding the new labeling for Monster beverages, FoodFacts.com is happy to see that the voices of consumers (some of them heard through lawsuits against various manufacturers) are being responded to and acknowledged. These beverages have been prove to be risky choices for some in the population who already have existing health problems. Perhaps as Monster makes changes, others will follow suit. We’ll keep an eye out for continuing information on this emerging story.

Meanwhile you can read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/13/monster-label-change-beverage-now-drink_n_2681366.html?utm_hp_ref=business

First it was Monster Energy and now it’s 5 -Hour Energy. 13 deaths in four years …

Last month, FoodFacts.com shared information with our community regarding Monster Energy Drinks and their dangers. Today, we’re bringing you expanded information on the dangers of energy drinks.

Over the last four years, 13 deaths have been reported that implicate 5-Hour Energy drink as a cause of death. Keep in mind that energy drinks are regulated differently than other caffeinated beverages and that these reports seem to be coming to light more and more often.

It appears that in the last three years, this particular brand (5-Hour Energy) has been cited in at least 90 filings with the F.D.A. More than 30 of those citings involved serious and/or life-threatening injuries. These would include heart attacks, convulsions and a spontaneous abortion. Of course, the report filed with the F.D.A. doesn’t mean that the product was actually responsible for death or injury or in any way contributed to it. But the product was consumed by the people who died or were injured. And that commonality seems to be growing.

Living Essentials, the distributor of 5-Hour Energy made a statement that their product was safe when used as directed and said that it was unaware of any deaths PROVEN to be caused by consuming their product.

Energy drink manufacturers are coming up against heavy criticisms regarding health risks and how they are labeling their products. Because they can fall into the cloudy category of dietary supplements, they are not required to fully disclose their caffeine content. Many lawmakers are asking the F.D.A. to get tougher on their regulations of these products.
5-Hour Energy doesn’t look like most other energy drinks on the market. It’s a small bottle and refers to itself as a “shot”. So consumers are under the impressions that they are getting a smaller amount of an “energy drink”. Consumer Reports recently reported the caffeine content of 5-Hour Energy at around about 215 milligrams. That’s about twice the amount of caffeine as is contained in an 8-ounce cup of coffee. Since it’s about twice as small, some folks might not realize it.

The problems that the F.D.A. faces have to do with how manufacturers classify their products. Some energy drinks, like Red Bull, are classified as beverages. They are governed under different rules than those marketed as dietary supplements. Sort of shorthand for “they can get away with not reporting what they actually contain” if they are classified as dietary supplements.

Daniel Fabricant is the director of the F.D.A’s division of dietary supplement programs. He’s made a statement that the agency is looking into the death reports that have cited 5-Hour Energy. While he says that medical information can, in fact, rule out a link between the deaths and 5-Hour Energy products, he’s also stating that reports may contain insufficient information to implicate the product in the fatalities.

FoodFacts.com has always remained wary of the benefits of energy drinks, most especially because of their appeal to teenagers. Recommended intake of caffeine is very different for young people than adults and we know that the appeal of energy drinks is largely with the younger population. We have a lot we need to say NO to as parents and as other adults who care for young people. Let’s make sure we add energy drinks to that list. Educate your own children and others that you care about regarding the dangers inherent to these controversial products.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/15/business/5-hour-energy-is-cited-in-13-death-reports.html