The Washington, DC-based Center for Science in the Public Interest is asking consumers “not to believe” a new video posted online by 5-hour Energy, which has come under fire recently after reports of health issues possibly linked to the product.
The company took to YouTube to defend the safety of its product, but CSPI is angry that the video – which now has has nearly 2.4 million views – cites CSPI’s executive director Michael Jacobsen as saying that it would be hard to overdose from caffeine. In a press release Wednesday CSPI said that the video “gives the misleading impression” Jacobson believes the product is safe, “merely because he told a Time magazine reporter that it would be hard to overdose—to death—on caffeine alone.”
“It is true that it would take a lot of caffeine to kill most people, according to Jacobson,” said CSPI. “But 5-hour Energy may be doing harm at much lower levels—perhaps causing insomnia, anxiety, reduced fertility, and other problems related to caffeine.”
In the video, the company’s founder Manof Bhargava defended the product: “When we first came out with the product I made sure of one thing… If it wasn’t good enough for my family, if it wasn’t safe for my family, I’m not going to put it out there.”
The company, based in Farmington Hills, Michigan. says they’ve sold over a billion servings of the product, which the company recommends consumers enjoy no more than twice per day.
CSPI said that while caffeine may not be the reason the product has been reported as a possible cause of health issues to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it’s possible that ingredients like citicoline, tyrosine, phenylalanine, taurine, malic acid, glucuronolactone, unspecified natural and artificial flavors, sucralose, potassium sorbate, and sodium benzoate could be interacting with each other and be “responsible for illnesses or deaths.”
According to press reports, 5-hour Energy has been cited as the possible cause in 13 deaths in the last four years, and the product has been associated with 30 other serious, life-threatening events, including heart attacks, convulsions, and one spontaneous abortion, according to the New York Times’ review of Food and Drug Administration records.
This month, CSPI wrote to the FDA expressing concern about the expanded addition of caffeine to foods and beverages, including a new variety of Cracker Jack (called Cracker Jack’D), Kraft’s MiO Energy “water enhancer,” and others.
“[T]he proliferation of caffeinated foods or beverages could lead to troublesome or serious health problems for children and adults who consume those products—especially when they consume multiple products over the day,” Jacobson wrote.
CSPI noted that some lawmakers have gotten involved.
“This ad campaign is misleading and should be stopped,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “The amount of caffeine and other additives in many of these energy drinks is way in excess of what is healthy for children and adolescents. As a result of these concerns, Senator Durbin and I have urged the FDA to investigate these products. Stronger oversight and awareness through warnings and other possible measures are clearly needed.”© Food Safety News