Monster Energy has agreed to market its drinks as beverages, instead of dietary supplements, CNN reports. The company’s decision comes after 18 public health experts asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restrict caffeine content in energy drinks.
The company’s products will not change, but their label will soon include the amount of caffeine in each can, the article notes.
Monster Energy has been implicated in the deaths of five people, while the possible involvement of 5-Hour Energy has been cited in 13 deaths. In one case, a 14-year-old girl reportedly died of cardiac arrhythmia after consuming two 24-ounce Monster Energy drinks. The FDA also received 21 claims of adverse reactions, some which required hospitalization, associated with Red Bull.
Energy drink manufacturers say their products are safe, and the amount of caffeine in them is on a par with coffee and other commonly consumed drinks.
Under federal law, manufacturers of dietary supplements are required to notify the FDA of any adverse events linked to their products. Manufacturers of food or beverages are not required to do so.
Consumer Reports analyzed Monster Energy’s contents last year, and found there was about 90 milligrams of caffeine in an 8-ounce can. The drink is available in sizes up to 24 ounces. In contrast, a 16-ounce Starbucks Grande contains 330 milligrams of caffeine.
In January, a government report found the number of emergency room visits involving energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011, reaching more than 20,000. The report, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found most cases involved teens or young adults. SAMHSA calls consumption of energy drinks a “rising public health problem.” The drinks can cause insomnia, headaches, seizures, fast heartbeat and nervousness, the report notes.