Energy drink-linked deaths could impact NZ

NZ Newswire October 25, 2012, 9:13 am

A spate of US deaths linked to Monster Energy drinks could speed up a trans-Tasman review of caffeinated drinks and see caffeine limits slashed in New Zealand.

The United States Food and Drug Administration is investigating the safety of energy drinks after receiving reports of five deaths and a non-fatal heart attack after drinking Monster Energy.

One 14-year-old girl drank two 700mL cans in the 24 hours before suffering a fatal cardiac arrest in December last year.

Her family is suing California-based Monster Beverage, alleging the company is responsible for wrongful death for failing to warn about its product's dangers, AFP reports.

The family's lawyers say the drinks contained a total of 480mg of caffeine, or 68.5mg per 100mL - equivalent to 14 cans of Coca-Cola.

A trans-Tasman health group, the Food Regulation Standing Committee, last year began a review of caffeinated products and the policy approaches taken by other countries.

A spokeswoman for Australia's Department of Health told APNZ the committee's policy guideline may be passed to trans-Tasman regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand, which could review both countries' caffeine regulations.

It was likely the US investigation would be considered by the review, she said.

Monster Energy contains the same amount of caffeine as rival brands in the New Zealand market, including Red Bull, Mother and Demon - which all contain 32mg of caffeine per 100 millilitres, the maximum allowed under the Food Standards Code.

In a statement to AFP, Monster Beverage said it was not aware of any deaths related to more than eight billion energy drinks it had sold worldwide.

It did not believe its drinks were responsible for the US teen's death and plans to "vigorously" defend the lawsuit.

News Poll

Do you think there is life on other planets?

Do you think there is life on other planets?

Vote

Opinion

Yahoo! New Zealand News Preferences

Close

Select your region to see news and weather for your area.