A proposed ban on high-caffeine energy drinks proposed by a prominent Chicago alderman in January received a hearing yesterday. Edward M. Burke, representing the city's 12th ward, who is also chairman of Chicago's City Council Finance Committee, proposed the blanket ban, citing the popularity of drinks such as Red Bull, Monster, Full Throttle and 5 Hour Energy among teenagers and young adults and the dangers those drinks can pose to their health.
March 5, 2013
Chicago energy drink ban: Much buzz, no action
The perceived dangers to children posed by often-sugary, much-caffeinated energy drinks resulted in much talk but no action Tuesday during a City Council committee hearing.
Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, has proposed banning drinks with at least 180 milligrams of caffeine that also include taurine, an amino acid, or guarana, an Amazonian plant that contains caffeine. But like many an attention-drawing Burke proposal, it led to no vote - only an agreement for further discussion - even as it provided work for well-connected lobbyists, attorneys and consultants.
Red Bull hired Mark Fary, the former 12th Ward alderman. The American Beverage Association hired Victor Reyes, onetime political chief for former Mayor Richard M. Daley, and attorney Michael Kasper, a political ally of House Speaker Michael Madigan and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. And 7-Eleven Inc. hired Sam Panayotovich, a former state legislator and partner of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.
All four have lobbied the mayor's office and aldermen against Burke's proposal, as well as one by Ald. George Cardenas, 12th, to ban the sale of energy drinks to anyone under age 21, according to city disclosures.