When news came out that the FDA had reports of five people who died after drinking Monster energy drinks, Monster’s stock plummeted. Now energy drink companies are worried the FDA could place new regulations on the industry.
“Everybody is nervous. We are in a media hail storm.” says Tom Pirko, a consultant to the beverage industry at a firm called Bevmark. But he expects the storm to blow over quickly. He described the incidents of death from people drinking energy drinks as, “so miniscule as to be almost negligible. We are looking at something that is an emotional matter, but it is a very important matter to the industry.”
The industry is concerned that the FDA could regulate the amount of caffeine in an energy drink. Soft drinks for example, are allowed no more than 72 milligrams per serving.
“The FDA could regulate the energy drink industry if it chose to,” says Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. He believes energy drinks should be regulated in the same way that soft drinks are.
Pirko, of Bevmark, worries that if the FDA were to limit the amount of caffeine in energy drinks it could affect other segments of the beverage industry: “Do they start regulating the coffee you buy at Starbucks?” Pirko asks.
Jacobson believes that is unlikely because current regulation only covers caffeine added to drinks so it would not apply to naturally caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea.
“You would have to say coffee should be limited to an eight ounce serving,” Jacobson says, “That’s never going to happen.”
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.