Energy Drink Safety is Focus of FDA Congressional Letter By Tod Aronovitz | 11/30/12 | 0 Comment

Last week we reported that 13 people died after consuming the popular “5-Hour Energy” drink, according to a recent Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”) analysis covering the time period from January 2004 to October 23, 2012. See our post titled, “Energy Drinks Linked to Death, Injury by FDA.”

As we noted, caffeine is a central ingredient in 5-Hour Energy, Monster, Rockstar, and other leading energy drinks. Phenylalanine, a potentially toxic amino acid, is another ingredient that may present a health risk.

Since our earlier post on energy drinks, the FDA addressed concerns of Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL] and Sen. Richard Blumenthal [D-CT] in a letter dated November 21, 2012. The potential interactions and cumulative health effects of multiple additives with stimulant properties (such as high doses of caffeine) in energy drinks are behind the regulatory consideration of potentially greater regulation.

Excerpts from the four-page FDA letter appear below.

We are looking at whether products that may be safe for most individuals under labeled-use conditions may pose significant risks, arising from direct toxic effects, when the products are consumed in excess or by vulnerable groups, including young people and those with pre-existing cardiac or other conditions.

Based on our safety review and within the bounds of our authority, FDA will consider taking appropriate action with respect to the labeling of these products, such a requiring disclosure of the amount of caffeine in food products, limitations on intended use, or warnings about possible adverse effects.

Click here to read the full FDA letter on energy drinks.

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