Monster Beverage Company is being investigated by the US Food and Drug Administration after a 14-year-old girl died after drinking just two cans of its popular energy drink.
The company is also being sued the family of Anais Fournier, who had a pre-existing heart condition, but says it does not believe its product was “in any way responsible for the girl’s death”.
The lawsuit, and reports of several other similar deaths, is likely to add to questions over Monster’s safety, and to escalate calls from its critics to change the way the beverage, which is the fastest growing energy drink in the US, is marketed.
Ms Fournier died of a heart attack brought on by ‘caffeine toxicity’ after drinking two 24-ounce Monster cans - containing 240 milligrams of caffeine, or seven times the amount of the caffeine in a 12-ounce cola - on consecutive days in December 2011.
An autopsy revealed the teenager, from Hagerstown, Maryland, died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity that impeded her heart's ability to pump blood. The medical examiner also found that she had an inherited disorder that can weaken blood vessels.
Miss Fournier's parents Wendy Crossland and Richard Fournier claim Monster failed to warn about the risks of drinking its products.
Ms Crossland told the Record Herald: 'I was shocked to learn the FDA can regulate caffeine in a can of soda, but not these huge energy drinks.
“With their bright colors and names like Monster, Rockstar, and Full Throttle, these drinks are targeting teenagers with no oversight or accountability. These drinks are death traps for young, developing girls and boys, like my daughter, Anais.”
With double-digit growth through the third quarter of 2012, Beverage Digest Editor John Sicher said he expects energy drink sales to exceed $10 billion this year. He declined to speculate about future growth.
“I don't think they are going to ban energy drinks,” said Morningstar analyst Thomas Mullarkey. “The question arises whether or not it gives them more firepower for increased regulation.”
Monster Beverage Corp said it does not believe its drinks are 'in any way responsible' for Miss Fournier's death.
'Monster is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks,' the company said in a statement. It said it intends to vigorously defend itself in the suit.Reuse content