Monster Beverage No Longer Has to Report Deaths to Government

A simple category switch from dietary supplement to beverage means the company doesn't have to disclose reports potentially linking Monster Energy to deaths or injuries.

Monster Beverage No Longer Has to Report Deaths to Government Photo (cc) by sacco1989

For many Americans, energy drinks are getting harder to swallow.

Last October, we interviewed a doctor who told us the ingredients in these drinks aren’t properly disclosed, and how the FDA was investigating a series of deaths that may have been caused by Monster Energy drinks.

Well, Monster found a solution to reporting deaths to the FDA – if they call their products “beverages” rather than “dietary supplements,” they don’t have to.

That makes all the difference to the government, reports The New York Times. Now they won’t have to inform regulators of reports suggesting their products are risky. Of course, that’s not why Monster says they’re doing it…

A spokesman for Monster, Michael Sitrick, said the company had decided to market its products as beverages for several reasons. One was to stop what he described as “misguided criticism” that the company was selling its energy drinks as dietary supplements because of the belief that such products were more lightly regulated than beverages. Another consideration, he said, was that consumers can use government-subsidized food stamps to buy beverages.

So Monster’s not scared of regulation (even though they’re dodging it), and they want people on a tight monthly food budget to buy their supplement, er, drink.

So far there’s been no conclusive connection between energy drinks and death, but the number of reports and investigations have increased since October. There have been three more cases of death and 14 injury reports that mention Monster as a possible cause. The 5-Hour Energy shots have gotten five death cases and 38 injury cases since then.

This week a group of 18 doctors and scientific researchers told the FDA, “There is evidence in the published scientific literature that the caffeine levels in energy drinks pose serious potential health risks.” Meanwhile, experts have also recently concluded energy drinks don’t do anything coffee can’t.

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