NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched an investigation after claims the caffeine in energy drinks is hurting people.
The investigation comes after allegations that the caffeinated energy drink, Monster, caused the deaths of five people. The most recent case, a 14-year-old Maryland girl whose parents say died after drinking two cans in 24 hours.
The drinks usually come in a 16-ounce-can, which packs a punch. And the beverage is becoming increasingly popular, with its bottom line being, more energy and fewer calories.
"I'm in college, I think there are definitely some times when they [friends] think they need to stay up later they'll use them to be able to do work more," said Katerina Lopez of Springfield of her friends' beverage choice while studying.
But new reports claim the drinks are providing more than just a jolt of energy. The FDA is now investigating whether the caffeine amounts in these energy drinks can hurt your heart. Last week, a Maryland family filed a lawsuit against the makers of Monster, saying the caffeine in the drink led to the death of their 14-year-old daughter.
"It's never going to be controlled to the point where you can limit people's intake of really anything. But I do believe that it is the government's responsibility to help protect people or at least make them aware," said Christopher Morin of Northampton.
The Centers for Disease and Control says energy drinks are very popular among young people and are consumed by at least a third of 12 to 24-year-olds. 22News stopped at a convenience store and compared three 16 ounce drinks; a soda bottle, a Monster drink and a Rockstar energy drink.
The soda bottle had 45mg of caffeine; meanwhile Rockstar's can had seven times more the amount of caffeine than the soda bottle. However, the Monster drink didn't specify how much caffeine it contained.
Some groups argue the makers of these energy drinks should disclose how much caffeine is contained in one serving. Others say that would mean more regulations.
"I don't think it's the place of the government to regulate how much caffeine we can consume, how much sugar we can consume. I think that's personal liberty of someone," said Jacquelyn Frazier of Amherst.
The FDA did acknowledge the adverse effects of caffeine in the reports, but said the claims don't prove that the drinks caused these deaths.