The FDA will now require energy drinks to be sold as a beverage, not a dietary supplement, after 13 deaths and a letter from 18 doctors and researchers.
For more than a decade, drinks like Monster Energy and Five-Hour Energy capitalized on up to $7 billion a year using the label, “dietary supplement.” A dietary supplement is defined as, “a product that is intended to supplement the diet . . . ,” according to the United States Library of Medicine.
Evidence shows the product is dangerous, and soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks are marketed to children.
In 2011, the death of 14-year-old Anais Fournier decreased Monster Energy’s stock by more than 40 percent. Monster Energy denied accusations for Fournier’s death, who died after consuming two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy. A state medical examiner found the cause of death to be caffeine toxicity. Monster Energy refused to take blame because a blood report wasn’t conducted.
The negative press continued as CBS News reported, “. . . energy drinks may increase blood pressure and change the heart’s rhythm.”
The issue represents legal vs. ethical decision-making. Legally, ingredients of the beverage require no change, only labeling. Ethically, the brands should consider altering the ingredients because of the deaths.
Do you think energy drinks should take ownership for the teens’ deaths? Is government regulation on energy drinks necessary?