UPDATE: FDA Reviewing Safety of Caffeinated Energy Drinks

Food & Drug Administration responds to senators' letter

UPDATE: In response to a series of letters from U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that it is currently reviewing the safety of energy drinks containing caffeine and other ingredients that act as stimulants and may require regulatory action if evidence of a health risk is found.

The FDA said that because energy drinks are new products that have raised safety concerns, they warrant investigation: "New products and patterns of use require us to remain vigilant, and we are working to strengthen our understanding of the nature of 'energy drinks' and any causal risks to health."

The review includes examining adverse event reports and consulting with experts outside of FDA to better understand risks posed by energy drinks, additives and high levels of caffeine consumption in youth. If their review finds safety concerns, FDA will consider regulatory action.

"Depending on the outcome of our ongoing review of the safety of 'energy drinks,' which includes caffeine alone and in combination with other ingredients, we will take action as needed with respect to the levels of caffeine in these products," Michele Mital, the FDA's acting associate commissioner for legislation, wrote in the letter. "In addition, based on our safety review and within the bounds of our authority, FDA 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."

Click here to view the full FDA response letter.

WASHINGTON -- Following reports that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has received several adverse event reports of fatalities upon the consumption of popular energy drinks and energy shots, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are calling for a meeting with FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, to discuss the steps the agency is taking to ensure the safety of these products. This is the third time that they have made such a request.

“Over the past year, there has been alarming evidence that energy drinks pose a potential threat to the public’s health,” wrote the senators. “We request a meeting with you on the steps FDA is taking regarding highly caffeinated energy drinks and to ensure they are safe for their intended use and in combination with other energy drink ingredients.”

Last month, Durbin and Blumenthal challenged the FDA to quickly identify and recommend remedies for weaknesses and loopholes in current law that they say are exploited by energy-drink manufacturers in order to avoid oversight and offer products containing additives and high levels of caffeine that have not been proven safe. Durbin and Blumenthal also called on the FDA to investigate the interactions between caffeine and stimulants in energy drinks and to assess the health risks associated with caffeine consumption by children and adolescents.

Click here to view the full letter from the senators.