The letters were sent to a variety of energy drink companies, including 5-Hour Energy, AMP Energy, Monster Energy, Rockstar Energy and Red Bull. As noted in the letters, sent jointly by Senators Edward J. Markey, John D. Rockefeller, Richard J. Durbin and Richard Blumenthal, “medical professionals and public health officials have raised serious concerns about the potential risks associated with the consumption of energy drink products by children and teenagers.”
Among the issues discussed at the hearing were the effects of caffeine on young people and ways in which energy drink companies market their products to young consumers, including children. During the hearing, representatives of Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar Energy discussed how they use social media to promote their product, a marketing strategy that can appeal to young consumers. The letters note that the three companies agreed to adhere to the American Beverage Association (ABA) Guidance for the Responsible Labeling and Marketing of Energy Drinks to address issues such as appropriate consumption of energy drinks. Furthermore, the drink makers reportedly agreed to consider concerns about the consumption of excessive caffeine by youth in creating their marketing strategies.
The companies at the meeting further agreed to commitments that the senators have requested be expanded to all energy drink makers, including not marketing the energy drinks to children, not promoting excessive consumption of energy drinks and not promoting the mixing of energy drinks with alcohol.
The companies were given until October 14, 2013, to respond to the letter.
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The authors concluded that energy drink makers should be required to label their products with information about the total amount of caffeine in the drinks, include warnings that the drinks should not be consumed by anyone under 18 years of age if they include above a certain level of caffeine and cease marketing of the products to consumers under the age of 18.