SAN FRANCISCO, May 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier today announced that it has launched a formal investigation into the safety of added caffeine in food products—noting "particularly its effects on children and adolescents"—in response to an unfortunate growing trend in which beverage and food manufacturers are adding caffeine to their products.
The announcement by federal regulators comes just four days after Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ: MNST) filed a virtually unprecedented lawsuit against San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera to halt his office's investigation into possible legal violations stemming from Monster Energy's marketing to children as young as 6 years of age. Monster is the nation's largest manufacturer of highly caffeinated energy drinks.
The FDA's investigation into the safety of caffeine added in food and beverage products marketed to children and adolescents won high praise from Herrera."I applaud the FDA for its leadership in recognizing the need to address the health risks posed by highly caffeinated energy drinks and similar products, particularly for young people," said Herrera. "I was proud to join with 18 nationally-recognized scientists and public health experts in March to urge the FDA to take action, and I am grateful to them for launching an investigation that acknowledges how aggressively energy drinks are being marketed to youth." In announcing the federal investigation this morning, FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael R. Taylor noted that the "proliferation of these products in the marketplace is very disturbing to us." "Our concern is about caffeine appearing in a range of new products, including ones that may be attractive and readily available to children and adolescents, without careful consideration of their cumulative impact," said Taylor. "[W]e hope this can be a turning point for all to prevent the irresponsible addition of caffeine to food and beverages. Together, we should be immediately looking at what voluntary restraint can be used by industry as FDA gets the right regulatory boundaries and conditions in place."