The Hidden Risks of Energy Drinks


The mother of Anais Fournier, 14, who died due to caffeine toxicity after consuming Monster energy drinks is filing a lawsuit against the company. Representing the mother, the lawyer suggested that energy drinks need to be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and should not be sold to minors. The teenager suffered a cardiac arrhythmia last December after drinking two 24oz Monster energy drinks within a 24-hour period.

The mother sued Monster Corporation in the Superior Court of California of Riverside County, alleging strict product liability, failure to warn and negligence in the design, sale and manufacturing of the product, in addition to other claims. According to the law firm, the two drinks combined that Fournier drank are believed to have contained approximately 480mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to 14 cans of 12oz Coca-Cola.

While the FDA requires the soft drinks to contain no more than 71.5mg per 12oz can, energy drink caffeine content is unregulated due to its status as a dietary supplement rather than a food. The suit also discovered that, according to the FDA’s Center for Food Safety Adverse Event Reporting System, there have been six deaths and fifteen hospitalizations associated with the use of Monster energy drinks since 2009.

This issue can greatly impact the Oakland community, especially the teenagers and college students, who contribute to the consumption of energy drinks. More and more teenagers and young adults rely on energy drinks to last them through long nights of projects and test preparations, without understanding the danger of the high amount of caffeine contained in the energy drinks.

By Chih-Hsueh Lin, OFPC Intern

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