Energy Drinks Being Investigated

Before you spend your hard earned money on energy drinks that you think will make you more productive concerning recreation or work, you should be aware that there are serious issues being raised about the marketing of energy drink products as reported below.

New York investigates energy drink makers.

On the front page of its “Business” section, the New York Times (8/29, Schwartz, Subscription Publication) reports that “the New York attorney general has subpoenaed three large makers of so-called energy drinks as part of an investigation into whether the companies are misleading consumers about how much caffeine the drinks contain and the health risks they could pose.” Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general, is also “looking at whether the companies – Monster Beverage, PepsiCo and Living Essentials – violated federal law in promoting the drinks as dietary supplements rather than as foods, which are regulated more strictly.” Citing an anonymous source who has been briefed on the investigation, the Times says that “state authorities are also concerned about whether all of the ingredients that go into the beverages are properly disclosed.”

In a related story, the AP (8/29) reports that “the probe is examining how the drinks are made, often loaded with caffeine and sugar, along with what critics say is a mostly useless amount of Vitamin B, and how they are marketed at sports events and sometimes in bars.” Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, remarked, “This has been a slimy sector of the beverage industry almost since the beginning,” adding that “it's just kind of playing off peoples' presumptions that they provide a benefit.”

The Wall Street Journal (8/28, Albergotti, Esterl, Subscription Publication) notes that the energy drink makers could face civil fines and penalties if they are found to have violated state laws regulating food and drugs. Additionally, they could be forced to alter their marketing and labeling.

ABC (8/29, Davies) reports in its “Business” blog that energy drinks have recently been the subject of much criticism. It notes, for instance, that “last year the American Academy of Pediatrics said some products were harmful to children and young adults because they contain large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants.” Also covering the story are: Reuters (8/28, Ax, Geller), and NBC News (8/29, Jones) “Market Day” blog