Energy Drinks Come Under Fire In New York State

Energy drinks are coming under fire in New York as the state’s attorney general has subpoenaed three of the largest drink makers to see if they are misleading consumers about how much caffeine is really in the drinks.

Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, is investigating energy drinks to see if the companies — which include Monster Beverage, PepsiCo, and Living Essentials — are breaking federal law by promoting themselves as dietary supplements rather than foods, the New York Times reported.

Authorities in New York are reportedly concerned whether all the ingredients included in the energy drinks are being disclosed to consumers and if some of the additives actually increase the amount of caffeine t0 more than what is labeled.

This is not the first time energy drinks have been under scrutiny for their health risks. In 2010, the FDA gave warnings to four companies that made energy drinks containing alcohol, citing health risks involved with the drinks.

Even though some evidence suggests that the energy drinks could be healthy, health advocates have expressed concern about the risks involved with the drinks, especially among adolescents.

“A person who co-ingests an energy drink and alcohol doesn’t understand how drunk they are,” said Amelia M. Arria, an epidemiologist who serves as director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. “Caffeine keeps you awake so you can keep drinking, and high levels of caffeine can mask intoxication.”

Energy drinks are among the fastest-growing products in the beverage industry, the Wall Street Journal reported. Retail sales of energy drinks increased 16 percent last year, reaching $8.9 billion, making up 12 percent of the carbonated oft drink market.