Warning as Monster energy drink makers sued over teenage girl's death
THE makers of Monster, an energy drink with the caffeine equivalent of seven cans of Coca-Cola, are being sued by the family of a 14-year-old girl who died after consuming two cans in two days.
US authorities are investigating four other incidents in which people died soon after having the energy drink (right).
Parents here have been warned not to allow their children to consume energy drinks after the five deaths in the US.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland gave the warning as it emerged that the family of Anais Fournier, from Maryland, were suing Monster.
The 14-year-old died of a heart attack last December having drunk two 24-ounce cans in two days. The two drinks together contained 480mg of caffeine.
A post-mortem concluded she died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity.
Her mother has described the brightly-coloured cans as "death traps" for children.
However, the teenager had an inherited disorder that can weaken blood vessels.
Documents from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US safety watchdog, show that since 2009 at least four people were reported to have died soon after drinking Monster.
The FDA reports, which also cite one non-fatal heart attack possibly linked to Monster, emerged during the course of the family lawsuit.
Other reports included complaints of vomiting, heart tremors and chest pain from people who had consumed the drink.
Monster Beverages' share price fell more than 14pc following the news of the lawsuit and the FDA investigation.
The company has strenuously denied that its products caused any deaths, saying it was "unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks".
The energy drinks are top-sellers in the US and are also available in cans here.
The company sells a number of high-caffeine drinks in Ireland, including coffee energy drink X-Presso Monster, Monster Rehab and Monster Ripper.
In Ireland anything over 150mg of caffeine per litre must be labelled with 'high caffeine content'. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has warned that energy drinks should not be drunk by either children or vulnerable people, including pregnant women.
"Parents wouldn't give coffee to their children, so our recommendation is that children don't drink these at all.
"We define a child as anyone who is in need of parental supervision," said Jane Ryder of the the FSAI.
"There is new European legislation coming in December 2014 which will make manufacturers put 'not suitable for pregnant women or children' on these cans as well."
She added that adults should also be aware of the high caffeine content of energy drinks, particularly if mixing them with alcohol.
Shelly Burgess, a spokesman for the FDA in the US, said no causal link had yet been established between the deaths and the energy drink.