BY MATT CASEY, BEVNET.COM STAFF WRITER
Redline caught some bad press Wednesday when four Florida eighth-graders went to the hospital after consuming the highly-caffeinated energy supplement.
Three separate new outlets – NBC 6 WTVJ in Miramar Fla., WPLG in Miami and the Miami Herald – reported that the 13 and 14-year old boys drank “sips” of Redline before a standardized test at middle school in Weston Fla.
Redline CEO and CSO Jack Owoc said “it
is physiologically impossible for four 13 year old boys to all experience ‘profuse sweating and racing hearts’ on a few sips of Redline.”
The company offers Redline in a number of forms, including a ready-to-drink version with about 250 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. bottle, and a concentrate form that contains 579 mg of a “proprietary blend” in each 5 ml serving. That blend includes caffeine, and the concentrate bottles, at 120 or 240 mls, contain 24 or 48 servings each.
Reports did not specify which Redline product the students drank – though WPLG’s report mentioned a “small” bottle – but Mike Guadagno, regional sales manager for Redline, said the company knows for a fact that the students drank the energy drink. Owoc responded to the incident by pledging $25,000 to the school board to cover the administrative costs of implementing a ban on energy drinks, which are currently unrestricted within the school.
Red Line clearly labels their product as off-limits to people under 18 years old, warns consumers that their drink is very potent and to “carefully read label prior to drinking.”
The full statement from Redline/VPX CEO and CSO Jack Owoc follows below:
Please be advised that as a former teacher in the Broward County School System and knowing the sensitive nature of any event involving children, I CEO of VPX/Redline regret and take this unpleasant incident very seriously. VPX/Redline® has been pushing to ban energy drink sales to minors and has, therefore, strongly suggested compliance to all Redline retailers to abide by our “18 years of age or older request”. Consequently, all Redline labeling and packaging prominently state in all bold and capital letters “WARNING: NOT BY USE FOR INDIVIDUALS UNDER THE AGE OF 18.” Redline also states on the screw off cap (so that nobody could possibly miss it) “Caution: read entire label before drinking.” While selling energy drinks to minors is not against the law, many states are now considering adopting legislation that would prevent the sale of energy drinks containing more than 71 mgs. of caffeine to minors. We agree strongly with this proposed legislation, but further suggest that children should never drink energy drinks no matter what the level of caffeine. Energy drinks are made for adults only and children should derive enough energy from a healthy diet, daily exercise, and eight hours or more of sleep. Schools, with the assistance of parents, should teach and enforce this mind set and policy nationwide until it becomes law.
VPX/Redline is the first and only energy drink in the nation (to the best of my knowledge) to preemptively warn not to sell to children and to also warn pregnant persons not to consume caffeine which may be harmful to the health of the fetus. These warnings on energy drinks will soon become law and VPX/Redline is pioneering a new standard while legislation catches up to this relatively new challenge.
VPX/Redline would, therefore, sincerely request that the Broward County School Board work with us in setting a new standard to immediately ban all energy drinks from school campus’ nationwide. To make this a reality in the soonest and most efficient manner possible, VPX/Redline will donate $25,000 to the Broward County School Board to facilitate the administrative costs to initiate this new policy to ensure the safety and well being of children to be overseen by Dr. Joe Melita, Executive Director Professional Standards and Special Investigation Unit.
Highly concerned, ready and willing to do our part,
VPX / Redline