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Senate Democrats push energy drink makers to quit marketing to children.


The Hill (7/31, Hattem, 21K) reported in its “Regwatch” blog that Senate Democrats want energy drink manufactures to cease marketing their products to children, likening the practice to “covert marketing” tactics previously used by the tobacco industry. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) accused manufacturers of “openly advertising to kids and denying it” in front of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Fears that energy drinks’ “large amounts of caffeine as well as other stimulants like taurine” that may lead to illness or even death if excessively consumed, “especially among children.” Rodney Sacks, chairman of the Monster Beverage Corporation, responded that his company “does not market to children and has never done so.”

AdWeek (8/1, 33K) explains that the hearing comes after committee chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) sent letters to energy drink manufacturers, including Red Bull, Monster Beverage Corp., Rockstar and Living Essentials, last month “asking the companies to detail their marketing practices to children and teenagers.” Groups such as the American Medical Association have called for a ban on marketing energy products to those under 18 because they may cause potential heart problems. While manufacturers have agreed to not market to those under 12, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward Markey (D-MA) pressured the companies to “to extend the ban to include teens under 16.”

AFP (8/1) reports that during the meeting, Red Bull North America vice president Amy Taylor announced it will “limit to 80 milligrams per 8.4 ounces the amount of caffeine in its drinks” and prohibit “child- or teen-oriented characters in its animated” advertisements.

The Reading (PA) Eagle (8/1, Cherney, 50K) notes many energy drinks are registered as “dietary supplements and not beverages” with the FDA, which allows manufacturers to circumvent “federal regulations for sugar and caffeine,” according to Nicole Rhoads, a registered dietitian at St. Joseph Medical Center. Furthermore, the agency limits no more than 71 milligrams of caffeine in a 12 ounce can of soda. Comparatively, a 24 ounce of Monster Energy contains 240 milligrams, and one container of 5-Hour Energy contains 207 milligrams.


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