The makers of the popular Monster Energy Drink face a state attorney general investigation, as safety concerns continue to increase involving the highly caffeinated beverages, which are heavily marketed towards teens and young adults.
In a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Monster Beverage Corporation disclosed last week that they have received a subpoena from an unidentified state attorney general, which is investigating the company’s “advertising, marketing, promotion, ingredients, usage and sale” of Monster Energy Drinks.
Few details were provided about the basis for the investigation or the potential allegations, but the disclosure comes amid growing concerns about potential health problems from Monster Energy Drinks and other similar products, as well as the marketing practices surrounding the drinks.
In the filing, the company also provided an update on a Monster Energy Drink class action lawsuit that is pending in Canada, claiming that the manufacturer misleadingly packaged and sold the product without providing adequate statements about the contra-indications or potential risks associated with consuming energy drinks. Monster Beverage Corp. has indicated that they do not believe the claim has merit, and that they plan to vigorously defend the lawsuit.
Monster Energy Drink Health Problems and Concerns
Monster Energy is one of several popular brands of energy drinks marketed in the United States, with similar products sold under the brand names Red Bull, Rockstar and others. The drinks contain high levels of caffeine and other additives, which are designed to act as stimulants and provide an energy boost.
However, as the popularity of the drinks has increased, concerns have surfaced about the health risks associated with energy drinks and the warnings provided to consumers about the levels of caffeine contained in each drink.
The products are often sold next to or near regular sodas. However, while each soda typically contains about 35 milligrams of caffeine, many energy drinks contain up to 400 milligrams of caffeine in each can.
According to 2008 report by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, labels of energy drinks should contain warnings about the amount of caffeine and the potentially harmful side effects they could cause.
In a study published earlier this year in the The Medical Journal of Australia, researchers found several concerning symptoms associated with energy drink ingestion, including palpitations, tremors, signs of serious cardiac or neurological toxicity, hallucinations and seizures.
Monster Beverage Corp. noted in the SEC filing that they could not predict the outcome of the state attorney general investigation or if they would eventually be, “subject to fines, product reformulations, container changes, changes in the usage or sale of our energy drink products and/or changes in our advertising, marketing and promotion practices, each of which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.”
According to Beverage Digest, sales growth for the big-three carbonated soda companies, Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper, were down last year while the “energy drink companies–Monster, Red Bull and Rockstar — each posted double-digit volume growth and gained shared.” Monster Corporation alone reported a 30% increase in income in just the last quarter in the same filing which announced the investigation.
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