There's a legal battle brewing in California, where the San Francisco city attorney sued Monster Beverage earlier this week for marketing its drinks to children. This comes after Monster Beverage sued the city last week in federal court, accusing San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera of overstepping his boundaries for trying to make the company scale back its marketing efforts and the levels of caffeine in its drinks.
For those of us not living in the city by the bay this matters because while the FDA doesn't currently set caffeine limits on energy drinks there's been a spike in interest and anger over that fact since the beginning of the year. Now the FDA is looking into whether or not the drinks pose a risk to certain groups (as in children or those with cardiac problems).
Prior to the pair of lawsuits involving the city and the drink manufacturer, Herrera said he and the company were in talks to initiate voluntary changes and had even confirmed a meeting set for a few days after the lawsuit was filed.
Herrera wants the company to stop marketing its products to kids, pointing to the fact that Monster's Monster Army website features some pretty young athletes. Monster on the other hand says the city attorney is trying to violate free-speech and improperly regulate their products.
A 16 oz. Monster contains 60 milligrams of caffeine, or 10 mg per ounce, which is only about half the caffeine per ounce of Starbucks coffee. The difference though between a hot cup of joe and a can of Monster, at least experts say, is that you're unlikely to be able to chug a hot drink. Meanwhile Monster encourages consumers to do just that -- and if you don't think young, impressionable teens are listening just check out the video below.
The FDA regulates the amount of caffeine that can go into "cola-like" drinks but Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, told WSJ that "proliferation'' of caffeinated foods and beverages might cause the agency to "consider limiting how much caffeine can be added to other products."
Late last year energy drinks were revealed to have played a role in several deaths including a 14-year-old girl.