Heightened media attention, a new adverse events report and Congressional imploring have yet to make the FDA change its stance on the category. The latest: the FDA is defying calls for action.
An August letter from the agency to Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Rihard Blumenthal (D-CT) said the energy drinks category—the likes of Red Bull, Monster and 5-Hour Energy—are comparable to Starbucks coffee products, and that 400 mg caffeine a day is safe.
Durbin has made the case that energy drinks are marketed to youths, not adults. "Their bodies are not accustomed to caffeine, and energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and stimulating additives that may interact when used in combination."
In turn, the agency said it "will consider taking appropriate action with respect to the labeling of these products, such as requiring disclosure of the amount of caffeine in food products, limitations on intended use, or warnings about possible adverse effects."
Bottom line: Manufacturers need to start listing caffeine content on labels. Lack of transparency kills. Get on board now, lest lawmakers and regulators make things even worse for the category. Remember, Durbin would like nothing more than to destroy the energy-shot market altogether.