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    FDA Responds to Durbin's Call for Energy Drink Review

    The agency found levels of caffeine equal to a 16-ounce of coffee.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- One federal legislator asked the Food and Drug Administration to review energy drinks, but the level of caffeine found in the beverages apparently has not set off any warning bells for the agency.

    Four months ago Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sent a letter to the commissioner of the FDA calling for an investigation into the alternative beverages -- such as Monster Energy, Rockstar and Red Bull -- after learning that a 14-year-old girl from Maryland died of a cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity upon drinking two 24-ounce energy drinks in a 24-hour period, as CSNews Online previously reported.

    However, the FDA recently said coffee retailers like Starbucks sell brewed coffee with 330 milligrams of caffeine in a 16-ounce serving. That amount is comparable to the range of caffeine contents found in many energy drinks, according to BevNet.com.

    Further, the FDA's response letter indicated that most studies have not indicated any particularly harmful effects for caffeine consumption of up to 400 mg per day. While the agency said it was in the midst of conducting a review of recent safety studies on caffeine, "the available studies do not indicate any new, previously unknown risks associated with caffeine consumption," the website reported.

    According to the letter, the FDA has taken an "updated assessment of the amount of caffeine that people in the United States ingest from all sources," with the results showing that "even when the consumption of energy drinks is considered, most of the caffeine consumed comes from what is naturally present in coffee and tea," the report added.

     

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