Monster Beverage Corp. recently responded to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report on so-called energy drink-related emergency department visits. It stated that the DAWN report is highly misleading and does not support any conclusion that energy drinks are unsafe for consumers.
Monster Beverage's response is as follows:
The DAWN report does not provide enough information to determine the nature of patients' complaints, the amount of caffeine consumed from all sources, or whether there was any connection between the complaints and the consumption of an energy drink, the company said. The DAWN report reflects no medical finding or diagnosis that consumption of energy drinks was, in fact, the reason for the patient's emergency room visit.
Any causal connection between energy drink consumption and emergency room visits is further substantially weakened by the existence of other factors more likely to have been responsible for the patients' medical issues, such as the use of pharmaceuticals, alcohol or illegal drugs, which was reported by 42 percent of patients, according to the DAWN report. This number was almost certainly under reported because many of the patients, especially those under 21, likely would have been reluctant to voluntarily admit this type of information.
Moreover, the DAWN report contains no comparative information showing how many emergency room visits are associated with other widely consumed beverages. Notably, the DAWN project leader told the media that the report did not even look at ER visits associated with coffee consumption and could not say whether people who had consumed significant quantities of caffeine from coffee or other sources do not likewise visit the ER.
The DAWN report also misleadingly compares the caffeine content in energy drinks with that in a 5-ounce cup of coffee. The vast majority of coffee drinks are consumed in sizes substantially larger than 5 ounces and contain caffeine levels similar to, and in many cases higher than, energy drinks. In fact, the leading brands of coffeehouse-brewed coffee typically contain more than 20 mg of caffeine per ounce, which means a medium 16-ounce coffeehouse coffee contains at least 320 mg of caffeine.
In contrast, Monster energy products generally contain approximately 10 mg of caffeine per ounce from all sources. A 16-ounce can of Monster Energy therefore contains roughly half the caffeine of a 16-ounce cup of coffeehouse-brewed coffee. Media reports that rely on the misleading coffee comparison provided by DAWN, which have included a claim that three cans of energy drinks contain as much caffeine as 15 cups of coffee, are therefore simply inaccurate.
Tens of billions of energy drinks have been sold and safely consumed worldwide for approximately 25 years, including more than 8 billion cans of Monster Energy® that have been sold and safely consumed in the United States and around the world since 2002.