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Banning energy drinks for kids isn't the answer [Letter]

Contrary to Laura MacCleery's claim ("Energy drinks can kill," March 5), I never asserted that the FDA gave energy drinks a "green light." Rather, I noted in my op-ed ("No one cards at Starbucks," Feb. 26) that the agency conducted an investigation in 2012 and found no cause to take action against these products. That doesn't mean the products are 100 percent safe for any individual to consume in any quantity, but that's true for most products.

I didn't mention Anais Fournier because one death reportedly connected to energy drinks doesn't prove that energy drinks are dangerous, and it shouldn't be the basis for legislation. However, documents filed in state court in Riverside, Calif., by Monster's lawyers reveal that no meaningful toxicity screening was conducted on Ms. Fournier and the medical examiner admits to failing to perform a blood test at the hospital, which would have shown any caffeine in her system. It seems the reason "caffeine toxicity" is listed on the death certificate is because the family insisted the drinks aggravated Fournier's pre-existing heart ailment. If energy drinks were a true threat to the 10 percent of the population with heart conditions, wouldn't we expect to see many more deaths considering the rapid increase in their use over the last decade?

The best way to protect children isn't to ban products but to teach them about balanced diets and the dangers certain foods or drinks can pose so they can make healthy choices into adulthood.

Michelle Minton, Washington

The writer is a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

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