October 23, 2012 | 10:00am
The FDA is investigating reports of five deaths that may be linked to Monster Energy, the popular caffeine-and-taurine beverage in a big black can.
A lawsuit against Corona-based Monster Beverage claims that a 14-year-old Maryland girl with a heart condition died after drinking two cans of the energy drink in a 24-hour period. The family charges that Monster failed to warn about the risks of the beverage. According to Reuters
, Monster does not believe it is "in any way responsible" for the girl's death.
An FDA spokesperson told the New York Times
that it has received reports of five deaths and a heart attack with possible links to the drink. Other reported side effects have included abdominal pain, vomiting, tremors and abnormal heart rate. However, it is uncertain whether the incidents also involved alcohol or drugs. In 2010, caffeine was removed from the alcoholic energy beverage Four Loko after teen drinkers were being sent to the emergency room.
While not listed on its packaging--energy drinks are often sold as "dietary supplements," evading FDA restrictions for caffeine in soda--a 24-oz. can of Monster contains 240 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of seven 12-oz. cans of Coca-Cola, reports Z6Mag
However, Monster believes that there's no reason to put down the can. "Over the past 16 years, Monster has sold more than 8 billion energy drinks, which have been safely consumed worldwide," a spokesperson said.