If you were to enter virtually any convenience store in the United States and walk to the coolers in back, there's a very good chance that you'd see several shelves full of energy drinks. In fact, you may even notice that these products have now pushed both soft drinks and sports drinks to the lower shelves.
Interestingly, these energy drinks, which are regularly consumed by people of all ages, are now on the radar of both health officials and even some law enforcement agencies.
Regarding the former, the Food and Drug Administration is now actively investigating reports that the high caffeine levels in energy drinks may have been linked to several consumer deaths. As for the latter, the San Francisco City Attorney's Office has actually filed a lawsuit against California-based Monster Energy Corp., claiming that it is illegally misbranding its products and marketing them to children.
In fact, it appears that San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who has been investigating Monster since 2012, will not be backing down on this matter anytime soon.
That's because the New York Attorney General's Office recently announced that it was joining forces with Herrera's office to determine whether the company is indeed illegally marketing its product to minors in the Empire State.
"We are disappointed that Monster has remained defiant in marketing products to children," said Herrera. "We hope this effort will cause the company to correct its irresponsible marketing practices."
Monster, which has sold over 10 billion cans during the last 11 years, has denied any wrongdoing. Specifically, it claims that its product is not only safe, but contains a warning label that expressly advises certain people -- pregnant/nursing women, caffeine-sensitive people and children -- to avoid consumption.
More significantly, company officials claim that a standard 16-ounce can contains less than half of the caffeine of a similarly sized cup of coffee, and is no way marketed toward children.
It should be very interesting to see not only what happens in this case here in California, but whether Monster and other energy drink makers find themselves the target of more civil litigation in the near future.
Stay tuned for updates ...
If you have suffered serious personal injuries or lost a loved one because of a defective product, consider speaking with an experienced attorney to learn more about your rights and options for seeking justice.
Source: NBC News New York, "New York, San Francisco prosecutors join forces to investigate Monster Energy Drinks," Jan. 15, 2013