San Francisco City Attorney Files Inquiry with Monster Beverage

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera

And the hits just keep on coming for Monster Beverage. The energy drink giant is facing new scrutiny about the safety of its products, this time from the city attorney in San Francisco, according to a recent article in the New York Times. In a letter sent to the company on Wednesday, Dennis J. Herrera alleged that Monster’s advertising and marketing campaigns have led to “unsafe and irresponsible consumption of its products,” and asked Monster to substantiate its claims that consuming large amounts of its highly caffeinated energy drinks is safe for consumers.

In his letter to Monster, Herrera cited a California law that makes it illegal to make advertising claims that are supposedly based on fact or clinical data, but in actuality are false or misleading to consumers. Herrera pointed to statements in Monster advertising, including one that claims, “Can never get too much of a good thing!” as reason to question the company about its marketing practices, particularly after it was recently revealed that consumption of Monster Energy contributed to six deaths and 15 hospitalizations since 2009, according to doctor and consumer reports sent to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA has stated that while it is aggressively investigating the death and injury reports, the filings associated with Monster energy drinks does not necessarily make the company culpable. Moreover, the agency has repeatedly stated that there is not enough evidence about energy drinks posing a significant threat to consumers to take a stronger regulatory stance on the products.

Although Monster does not disclose the caffeine content in its energy drinks, the company has consistently denied that its products are dangerous to consumers. In response to the letter, Monster released a statement noting that, “the company can document the legal basis by which its products are properly labeled dietary supplements, and third party scientific documentation substantiates their safety.”