These ongoing complaints are raising serious criticism of the FDA’s handling of energy drinks, with consumers questioning whether the agency should be doing more to regulate the industry and protect consumers from the potentially unsafe products. As it stands now, energy drinks manufacturers are not forced to comply with the same regulations and requirements as companies that manufacture and sell food products. This is because, under FDA guidelines, energy drinks are considered a “dietary supplement” instead of food.

As a result, according to the more than 90 complaints the FDA has received about 5-Hour Energy since 2009, people are suffering major injuries such as heart attacks, convulsions and even spontaneous abortion as a result of their consumption of the product.

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Although the FDA has not determined the cause of the reported injuries, many are speculating that the product’s high level of caffeine may be to blame. One two-ounce ‘shot’ of 5-Hour Energy reportedly contains about 215 milligrams of caffeine. To compare, an eight-ounce cup of coffee normally has between 100 and 150 milligrams of caffeine.

Hopefully, these reports result in greater oversight of the energy drink industry and better protections for consumers.

Source: Time, “5-Hour Energy Cited In 13 Deaths and ‘Spontaneous Abortion’,” Olivia B. Waxman, Nov. 15, 2012

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