According to the quarterly Securities and Exchange filing of Monster Beverage Corp., an unnamed state attorney general (AG) subpoenaed company records in July 2012 regarding its energy beverages. The subpoena apparently concerns “the Company’s advertising, marketing, promotion, ingredients, usage and sale of its Monster Energy® brand of energy drinks.” The company further notes, “As the investigation is in an early stage, it is unknown what, if any, action the state attorney general may take against the Company, the relief which may be sought in the event of any such proceeding or whether such proceeding could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition or results of operations.”
News sources indicate that Monster had a 35-percent share of the energy drink market in 2011, and at least one financial analyst understands that others in the industry may also be targeted in the probe. While the caffeine in energy drinks is less than that contained in a cup of brewed coffee, the beverages typically contain three times more caffeine than soft drinks. Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) communicated earlier this year with the Food and Drug Administration, calling on the agency to regulate the beverages and citing a report that showed emergency room visits involving consumption of energy drinks increased 10 times from 2005 to 2009 with some 13,000 visits most recently recorded. Durbin and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced legislation in 2011 to strengthen warnings on product labels; the bill has stalled in Congress. See Associated Press, August 10, 2012.