The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation conducted a July 31, 2013, hearing to consider issues relating to the purported marketing of energy drinks to children and the alleged adverse health effects attributed to the use of products with elevated levels of caffeine and other stimulants. Among those testifying were Red Bull North America, Inc. Vice President and General Manager Amy Taylor, Monster Beverage Corp. Chair and CEO Rodney Sacks and Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity Senior Research Scientist Jennifer Harris.
Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) challenged the companies’ marketing practices and referred to data showing a surge in emergency room visits from consumption of the products. The executives defended their products, saying they had been proven safe and were targeted to the 18- to 34-year-old market. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) thanked the chair for calling the hearing, noting that caffeine has been safely consumed for thousands of years, and indicated his interest in “hearing the steps that the companies represented here today are taking to ensure their products are safe, as well as the efforts they are undertaking to ensure their products are marketed appropriately.” See Republican Press Office News Release, July 31, 2013.