August 15, 2012 — Monster Energy Corp., the United States manufacturer of the popular line of Monster energy drinks, disclosed that it is under investigation from an unnamed state attorney general.
In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company announced that they were subpoenaed in July for information regarding the energy drinks’ “advertising, marketing, promotion, ingredients, usage, and sale.”
The company added that the investigation is still in its early stages and it is unknown whether the attorney general will take action against the company. Company spokespeople declined to comment on the investigation beyond what was written in the filing, including naming the attorney general who filed the subpoena.
The energy drink market has continued to grow in the U.S., from $7.7 billion in 2010 to $8.9 billion in 2011. Monster and Red Bull are the dominant players in the market.
Recently, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) requested that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigate energy drink side effects. Some are concerned about their questionable caffeine content, high amounts of other ingredients, lack of warnings, and marketing toward young people. His request came after the death of a 14 year-old girl who died of a cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity after drinking two 24-ounce Monster energy drinks in one day at the mall. The combined drinks contained nearly 500 milligrams of caffeine, more than five times the recommended daily limit.
Others are calling on the FDA to require Monster, 5 Hour Energy, and other energy drink manufacturers to include the amount of caffeine on the label of the product. The FDA does not currently require energy drinks to have warnings or list the amount of caffeine. Some products have ingredient labels, but contain far more than 100% of the recommended daily limit of vitamins, minerals, caffeine, or other ingredients.
Excessive caffeine intake (more than 500 or 600 milligrams in most healthy adults) can be toxic. The side effects typically include upset stomach, irritability, nervousness, insomnia, a fast heartbeat, and tremors. If large amounts of caffeine are ingested in a relatively short period of time, the drug could have adverse effects on a person’s heart, increasing the risk of irregular heartbeat and death.
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