Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it was investigating reports that five deaths were associated with the popular Monster Energy Drink. Distributed mainly by Coca-Cola, Monster is currently the most popular energy drink in America, as sales have skyrocketed in recent years with the company reporting $9 billion in revenue in 2011. According to Monday’s announcement by the FDA, the company is currently being associated with the aforementioned five deaths and one heart attack, as well as one lawsuit filed by the family of a girl who died after drinking two Monster Energy Drinks in 24 hours.
Naturally, the company has denied that there is an association between Monster beverages and these fatalities, as a spokesperson responded to this week’s negative press: “Monster is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks.” However, the aforementioned lawsuit, filed by the family of 14-year old Anais Fournier, claims that this girl suffered cardiac result from “caffeine toxicity,” because the two Monster drinks that she consumed were the equivalent of 14 12-ounce Coca-Cola cans, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin has spent the better part of 2012 trying to influence the FDA in investigating energy drinks like Monster further in order to determine whether or not the drinks are actually more dangerous than consumers are aware of. While unrelated, the senator’s efforts, in cooperation with other lawmakers, are being supported by a new report in the December issue of Consumer Reports. According to a study involving 16 different energy drinks and products, five of them contained 20 percent more caffeine per serving than was listed on the product label, according to CBS News.
These latest reports and deaths are reminiscent of the similar controversies caused by the Four Loko alcoholic energy drinks several years ago. The drink was immensely popular across college campuses; however, it was associated with a number of deaths and accidents nationwide. Ultimately, the cases involving Four Loko led to the beverage being banned in multiple states, resulting in the drink’s manufacturer, Phusion Projects, recalling Four Loko and eventually re-releasing it without caffeine and other various ingredients.