January 4, 2013 — A California man has filed a Monster Energy Drink class action lawsuit, alleging that the drink is marketed as a beverage but regulated as a dietary supplement to avoid federal scrutiny over the caffeine content and other ingredients. The lawsuit was filed by Alec Fisher on December 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Monster is also currently facing several other lawsuits, including a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of a 14 year-old girl who died after consuming two Monster Energy Drinks.
According to the complaint, Fisher alleges began consuming Monster Energy Drinks at age 16, and consumed an average of two to three cans per week for then next five years. He alleges that he falsely believed that the beverages were soft drinks, similar to Pepsi or Coca Cola, which are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, Monster Energy Drinks are dietary supplements, which exempts them from testing to determine whether they are safe for human consumption
The complaint states:
“Monster Energy Drinks, in fact, contain a dangerously high amount of caffeine that have never been subjected to any kind of pre-market review by any regulatory authority prior to them being put in the stream of commerce.”
Monster Energy is also facing another class action lawsuit filed by Jennifer Wooding in Orange County Superior Court in California. The lawsuit alleges that Monster contains “a toxic and potentially lethal ingredient,” known as ECGC (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). The substance is found in Monster Rehab Green Tea + Energy, and has been linked to “dangerous hepatotoxic effects, including without limitation, death, acute liver failure, hepatitis and other liver injuries.”
The FDA is currently investigating reports of at least five death, one non-fatal heart attack, and 40 illnesses in association with the drink. One of the deaths was a 14 year-old girl whose autopsy report listed caffeine toxicity as a cause of death, in conjunction with an underlying heart valve defect.
Many experts and government regulators, including Senators Durbin and Blumenthal, have expressed concern that the products do not carry warnings about the risks of excessive caffeine consumption, especially by pregnant women, children, and people with underlying conditions that could make them susceptible to illness or injury.
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