Article on energy drinks brings a comment from a reader

November 5, 2012
Regulating energy drinks

Regarding your story “FDA report describing deaths sheds light on high-caffeine beverages” [Oct. 30], FDA can and does regulate dietary supplements; they are regulated as a category of food and have additional requirements on top of the general food regulations.

While some energy drinks are sold as conventional foods — your article pictured Red Bull, which is marketed as such — there are regulations governing the manufacturing and labeling of both supplements and conventional foods.

No energy drinks or beverages (even coffee) are required to list caffeine content, although many do. Marketers are not permitted to skirt the restrictions of either category by dancing between the regulatory lines — and both supplements and conventional foods are held to safety standards. FDA can remove products from the market if it determines they are not safe, regardless of which category they fall in.

As a father of two teenagers, my heart goes out to Ms. Fournier’s family. But all the facts are not in yet; let’s keep straight the ones that are.

Steve Mister, President, Council for Responsible Nutrition, Washington

The Council for Responsible Nutrition is a trade association representing the dietary supplement industry.

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