Warning of dangerous energy drinks

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Consumer advice center warns of energy drinks and calls for sales ban for consumers under the age of 18

The excessive consumption of energy drinks has probably led to the deaths of five people in the United States, according to current media reports. In a current press release, the Hamburg Consumer Center therefore called for "the general ban on the sale of high-dose energy concentrates" and the restriction of the sale of ordinary energy drinks to people aged 18 and over.

In view of the latest reports from the USA on the death of a 14-year-old girl who probably died as a result of consuming two 0.7-liter cans of a highly concentrated energy drink, the Hamburg consumer advice center said that “cases also come from Germany undesirable effects on the cardiovascular system after the excessive consumption of energy drinks are known ". At 320 milligrams per liter, these drinks have about three times the caffeine content of cola and also contain "ingredients such as taurine, in which negative interactions cannot be ruled out with certainty," the consumer center said. Consumer advocates see energy drinks as a danger, especially for children and adolescents, and are therefore calling for a ban on sales to people under the age of 18.

Five deaths from energy drinks? In the United States, reports of five deaths and a heart attack in a row from excessive energy drink consumption caused a sensation last week. A 14-year-old girl is said to have died from the effects of caffeine poisoning after two 0.7 liter cans of the energy drink of the "Monster" brand. The caffeine had apparently triggered severe cardiac arrhythmias, which led to cardiac arrest. The parents have filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the energy drink, and the US food regulator is also investigating the other suspected cases. So far, the US agency has not been able to clarify whether the consumption of the “monster” energy drink is actually the cause of the deaths. However, according to the information available so far, the US Food Inspectorate takes the incidents extremely seriously. Especially in the autopsy report of the deceased 14-year-old girl, the doctor recorded an arrhythmia due to poisoning with caffeine as the cause of death.

Children and Adolescents Must Be Protected For the Hamburg Consumer Center, the latest reports on deaths in the United States are an occasion to explicitly warn of the health risks posed by energy drinks. "If the consumption of energy drinks is associated with alcohol and physical exertion, for example in the disco, there is a risk that the side effects of seizures or rapid heartbeat will increase," the consumer center said. Although systematic, meaningful long-term studies have so far been lacking, consumer protection groups have no doubts about the health risks that energy drinks can pose. "Children and adolescents in particular need to be protected because there is a risk of excessive consumption in the disco and in sports," demanded the consumer advice center.

Energy shots as a food supplement? In addition to conventional energy drinks, consumer protection experts in Germany believe that so-called energy shots are a particular problem. These are "highly concentrated products in small portion sizes that tempt Durst to drink several servings." Since the products are sold by the manufacturers not as soft drinks but as food supplements, other legal requirements that allow an increased caffeine concentration apply the consumer center Hamburg. For example, an energy shot from the manufacturer "Red Bull" contains 80 milligrams of caffeine per 60 milliliters, which is more than 1,300 milligrams per liter. "Other products can contain up to 6,000 milligrams per liter," continues the consumer advice center. The label “only one serving per day” is mandatory for energy shots sold as food supplements, but this is often not observed by consumers. The energy drink "Monster" is also sold in the USA as a dietary supplement.

Consumer agency demands ban on sales of energy drinks The previous legal regulations on labeling energy drinks are "completely inadequate" in the opinion of the consumer agency. The law stipulated by the law "increased caffeine content" and the indication of how much caffeine is present in 100 milliliters of drink, therefore do not clarify the health risk that can arise from the drinks. From December 2014, according to the EU Food Information Regulation, the warning "Increased caffeine content. Not recommended for children and pregnant women or breastfeeding women ”on the energy drinks. However, given the incidents in the United States, the Hamburg Consumer Center is calling for more extensive regulations to protect children and young people. In their opinion, the energy shots should even be banned entirely, since the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) also classifies these drinks as unsafe if they are not used as intended. (fp)

Also read:
Dangerous energy drinks with additives
Energy drinks can strain the heart and circulation
Consumer advice center: Beware of energy drinks
Warning of high dose energy drinks

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