U.S. Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have for the third time this year challenged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to take immediate action” to address public concerns about energy drinks. In their October 26, 2012, letter to FDA, the senators write that they are “extremely concerned by reports of five deaths following the consumption of Monster energy drinks and a recent study showing that many energy drinks labels do not provide caffeine information to consumers.”

Durbin and Blumenthal’s letter refers to a new study issued by Consumer Reports allegedly revealing that five of the 27 top-selling energy drinks contain caffeine at levels at least 20-percent above the listed amounts, with 11 beverages failing to specify caffeine content altogether. “We do not know enough about the effect of caffeine on children and young adults, yet energy drinks are marketed directly to kids without the oversight that beverages like soda face,” conclude the senators. “The FDA needs to do more to investigate the impact of energy drinks and identify the loopholes that allow this deception to continue.” Additional information about FDA’s response appears in Issues 453 and 459 of this Update.