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Despite Concerns about Energy Drinks, Restaurants Begin Sales

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Miami, FLDespite concerns about the alleged negative effects of Monster Energy drinks and other energy drinks, some restaurants are now piloting a program to begin selling the controversial beverages. Recently, three lawsuits involving Monster Energy drinks have been settled for confidential amounts, and some public health officials and regulators have called for more oversight of the energy drink industry, but sales of the caffeinated products continue to grow.

One of the reasons that energy drinks are not highly regulated is because they are considered supplements, not beverages. As supplements, they come with less oversight than other beverages require. But critics say because of the high level of caffeine in the drinks, they should be more highly regulated. That’s because caffeine overdose is linked to serious heart problems that can result in death.

At least three lawsuits have been filed against Monster Beverage alleging the company’s Monster Energy drinks are unreasonably dangerous and have resulted in death or serious injury. Three lawsuits have been settled in recent months, all for undisclosed amounts.

CBS Miami (10/28/15) shares the story of Steve Popson who at the age of 27 has a heart defibrillator that he says is the result of drinking four to five energy drinks a day. And if adults are affected by the energy drinks, studies suggest children are at an increased risk too. The American Heart Association (11/16/14) conducted a study of records of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System, and found that more than 40 percent of 5,156 calls about energy drinks to the poison control centers involved children under the age of six.

Furthermore, of the 5,156 reported cases of energy drink exposure, 40 percent were unintentional. Across all age groups, major cardiovascular effects were reported in 57 percent of cases and neurologic effects (including seizures) were reported in 55 percent of cases.

“Energy drinks may contain pharmaceutical-grade caffeine and additional caffeine from natural sources that may cause the heart to race and blood pressure to increase,” the American Heart Association news release notes.

Despite these concerns, McDonald’s is reportedly testing the sales of Monster Energy drinks in restaurants in five states. According to The Wall Street Journal (10/20/15), the program is being run in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio to determine if there was a demand for the energy drinks in the restaurants. The article notes that Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains already sell Monster Energy drinks.

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