Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Energy-drink maker Monster investigated for ads, ingredients

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NEW YORK -- As energy drinks continue to surge in popularity, the disclosure by Monster Beverage Corp. it's being investigated is the latest signal the high-octane industry is coming under sharper scrutiny.

The Corona, Calif.-based company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday it received a subpoena last month from an unidentified state attorney general's office concerning the advertising and ingredients of its energy drinks.

The disclosure comes at a time when concerns over energy drinks have intensified. Energy drinks remain a tiny part of the carbonated soft drinks market, representing just 3.3 per cent of sales volume, according to industry tracker Beverage Digest. But while soda consumption has flagged in recent years, energy drinks are growing by leaps and bounds.

Last year, sales volume for energy drinks rose by nearly 17 per cent, with the top three companies -- Monster, Red Bull and Rockstar -- each logging double-digit gains, according to Beverage Digest. The drinks are often marketed at sporting events such as surfing and skateboarding, popular among younger people.

The levels of caffeine in the drinks have raised worries. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration caps the amount of caffeine in soda at 0.02 per cent, there is no such limit for energy drinks.

In its regulatory filing Thursday, Monster provided few details about the investigation, saying only that it was in the early stages.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 11, 2012 B9

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