Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumethal (D-Conn.) have
responded to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) letter concerning
actions the agency plans to take on energy drinks. While the senators “were
pleased to learn that the FDA intends to release final guidance distinguishing
liquid dietary supplements from beverages,” they contend that FDA’s response
to their earlier request “did not address one of our greatest concerns, which
include the potential interactions and cumulative effects of additives with
stimulant properties in energy drinks with high levels of caffeine. While ginseng
and other additives were not mentioned, your letter reviews taurine and
guarana, which are generally regarded as safe (GRAS) food additives when
used to add flavor.”

The senators seek an explanation about the use of these ingredients to
provide a stimulating effect and their safety when used this way. They also
seek information about the agency’s consideration of “the unique health risks
associated with consuming high levels of caffeine among young people.”
While FDA cited a report noting that most caffeine consumption in the United
States comes from caffeine naturally present in coffee and tea, FDA did not
provide an “assessment of the shifting consumption patterns among young
people, who are major energy drink consumers.” The letter concludes by
urging FDA “to assert its authority to regulate the level of caffeine in energy
drinks marketed as beverages.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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