Energy Drink Companies Rebrand as Beverages to Avoid Regulation

Saturday, March 23, 2013

After years of accusations that it caused deaths and injuries, Monster Energy drink will now be sold as a beverage, instead of its former marketing as a dietary supplement.


Monster Energy is only the latest seller of high-caffeine drinks to go this route, following a similar move by Rockstar Energy.


The switch gets the companies out of certain reporting requirements by the Food and Drug Administration—like revealing any deaths or ailments associated with the products. Bad publicity has caused Monster Energy’s stock value to plunge more than 40% in a year.


In addition to the rebranding, Monster Energy has been aggressively fighting back against critics in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion. It recently held a news conference to challenge accusations in a lawsuit that a 14-year-old girl died in part because of the high caffeine levels in Monster Energy. The company also threatened to sue a nutritionist, Deborah Kennedy, over claims she made in her newsletter about children dying from consuming energy drinks, sending her a cease-and-desist order on March 4 even though she never mentioned Monster Energy by name.


With the switch to being a beverage, Monster will start adding caffeine content to its labels. A 16-ounce can of Monster’s most popular drinks will contain 140 to 160 milligrams of caffeine. This will be about half of the caffeine found in a 16-ounce cup of Starbucks coffee. Soda drinks are considered safe if they contain up to 71 milligrams of caffeine per 12 ounces.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

In a New Aisle, Energy Drinks Sidestep Some Rules (by Barry Meier, New York Times)

Monster Energy Drink Is Now Officially a 'Beverage' -- And That Has Dangerous Implications for Consumers (by Tara Lohan, AlterNet)

Keep Unsafe Energy Drinks off Bases (by Pieter Cohen and Erin Edgar, Stars and Stripes)

Monster Energy Drink Cited in Deaths (by Barry Meier, New York Times)


Niall P. Maker 5 years ago
I know of a teen whose kidneys almost shutdown because of those energy drinks. He was an athlete. Its when he started taking those beverages he developed health issues.
NJJoe 5 years ago
A small number of people, regardless of age, will have adverse reactions to these types of "natural" stimulant drinks spiked with caffeine and/or other stimulants. They should carry warning labels, period. Consumers need to be more educated about this, and we, as a nation, have as yet failed to do so.

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