LawyersandSettlements.com recently interviewed attorney Kevin Goldberg of the law firm Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, about the alleged wrongful death Monster Energy drink lawsuit. Goldberg is part of the lead counsel team representing the alleged victim's family. In addition to discussing the merits of the energy drink lawsuit, Goldberg also weighed in on how energy drink regulation plays into not only the Monster Energy lawsuit, but also the broader discussion on energy drink marketing.
“The problem is that the [US Food and Drug Administration] allows energy drink companies to choose whether they will be regulated as a ‘dietary supplement’ or as a food or beverage,” Goldberg told LawyersandSettlements in an interview. “To me it is crystal clear that energy drinks fall into the traditional beverage category, and should be regulated that way.”
"In 2009," Goldberg continues, "the FDA issued draft guidelines*** that would seem to require that energy drinks classify themselves as a food/beverage, that provide guidance to the beverage industry about how the industry was to make these determinations. Unfortunately, it seems that good lobbyists for the energy drink companies kept this draft guidance from becoming final. This is not good for the public. I suppose the good news for consumers is that as a traditional food/beverage the public will finally find out exactly how much caffeine is in each can of Monster from all sources (including guarana). But in truth, just as the regulatory teeth of the Dietary Supplement Act were working and the public was becoming aware of the numerous adverse events potentially associated with Monster, the company has now reclassified itself, making it so that the company no longer has to report adverse events to the FDA."
Goldberg, whose firm represents plaintiffs alleging injury in Monster Energy lawsuits, remains concerned about the impact of the energy drink sector, and how it is currently regulated" not to mention what he perceives to be the potential health hazards. “The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a clinical statement advising all pediatricians that children should not consume energy drinks. A recent report from The American Heart Association indicates that energy drinks can raise blood pressure and alter the heart’s rhythm. In March 2013, eighteen well-known medical doctors and scientists wrote a letter to the FDA urging the agency to take immediate steps to protect children and adolescents from the dangers of energy drinks. They have also suggested a link between energy drink consumption and increased blood pressure, and changes in the heart’s QT rhythm.”
Goldberg also has harsh words for the FDA and the current regulatory framework for energy drinks.
“The problem is that from a policy perspective, the company[ies] should not be choosing how they are categorized and how they will be regulated. That is the responsibility of our government, the FDA and ultimately our elected officials.”
LawyersandSettlements.com provides ongoing coverage of energy drink lawsuits and legal news, and more information about the Monster Energy drink lawsuit, as well as the full interview with attorney Kevin Goldberg, can be found at the LawyersandSettlements.com website.
READ MORE ENERGY DRINK LEGAL NEWS
*Bloomberg Businessweek, June 6, 2013, "Overcaffeination Concerns Haven't Dented Energy Drinks" http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-06/overcaffeination-concerns-havent-dented-energy-drinks
**Fox News, June 19,2013, "AMA supports ban on marketing energy drinks to kids", www.foxnews.com
***FDA,December, 2009, "Draft Guidance for Industry: Factors that Distinguish Liquid Dietary Supplements from Beverages, Considerations Regarding Novel Ingredients, and Labeling for Beverages and Other Conventional Foods", www.fda.gov