Prosecutors join forces to eye Monster drinks

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco city attorney and
New York state attorney general have joined forces to investigate
whether Monster Beverage Corp. is marketing its highly caffeinated
drinks to children.
The joint probe began last month just before a
federal judge in California tossed out a lawsuit filed by Monster
seeking to stop an investigation by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis
Herrera.
Herrera has filed a lawsuit claiming the drinks pose
health risks and accusing the Corona, Calif.-based Monster company of
violating state law by misbranding its drinks and marketing them to
minors. He began his investigation of Monster in 2012,
Meanwhile,
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has issued subpoenas to
Monster and other energy-drink makers as part of his ongoing
investigation.
Herrera said he believes the cooperative efforts between the two prosecutors’ offices will prove
beneficial for the public.
"We
are disappointed that Monster has remained defiant in marketing
products to children," Herrera said. "We hope this effort will cause the
company to correct its irresponsible marketing practices."
Monster
spokeswoman Tammy Taylor said the energy drinks are not marketed to
children and aren’t highly caffeinated. A 16-ounce can of Monster
contains less than half the caffeine of a similar-sized cup of coffee,
she said.
Monster has sold more than 10 billion energy drinks
worldwide over 11 years, Taylor added. On its cans, Monster says the
beverage is not recommended for children, people sensitive to caffeine,
pregnant women or women who are nursing.
Herrera has said coffee is typically served hot and consumed more slowly than energy drinks.
Monster
and other popular energy drinks have come under increasing scrutiny.
The Food and Drug Administration has been investigating reports of
deaths linked to energy drinks, but the agency noted that the reports
don’t prove the drinks caused the deaths.
Monster has repeatedly said its drinks are safe and it does not know of any fatalities caused by its
products.
Schneiderman
is also working with San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and
other law enforcement officials nationwide demanding that mobile phone
manufacturers create kill switches to combat surging smartphone thefts
across the country.
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