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Deaths and Hospitalizations – Monster Energy Drink

Monster Beverage has been sued for allegedly marketing its highly caffeinated Monster Energy Drink to kids, teenagers and young adults. A lawsuit filed by San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera (May 6, 2013) claims the Monster caffeine levels can lead to elevated blood pressure, seizures and cardiac arrest. In October 2012, the parents of 14-year-old Anais Fournier sued Monster after their daughter went into cardiac arrest and died after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy drink in less than 24 hours.

The Monster Energy drink supposedly contains 240 mg of caffeine, about the equivalent of seven cups of coffee (some health experts say the caffeine content in energy drinks can be as high as 550 mg). It also contains other stimulants, including guarana, a natural caffeine-containing plant panax ginseng and taurine. In October 2012, a Consumer Reports investigation found that 27 of the most popular brands of energy drinks in the US contained a different amount of caffeine than was on the label, or did not list the amount of caffeine at all.

The FDA does not require energy drink companies, including Monster, to list the exact amount of caffeine on ingredient labels because the products are regulated as dietary food supplements instead of food. Energy drinks are also sold as nutritional supplements, even though they may not have any nutritional value. Because of this regulation, energy drinks may exceed the FDA-mandated limit of 71 milligrams of caffeine for a 12-ounce soda.

As well, the FDA does not allow soda to have more than 0.02 percent caffeine, but energy drinks aren’t subject to this limit.

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