just On Call: Monster CEO speaks out over safety concerns
Monster has faced a surge of negative press in recent weeks
The boss of Monster has mounted a lengthy defence of the company, restating its products are “safe” and arguing claims made in a lawsuit against it are “totally baseless”.
Rodney Sacks, the Californian-based energy firm's CEO & chairman, pre-empted questions during an analyst's conference call yesterday (7 November) by tackling the group's recent troubles head-on. The company is facing a lawsuit as well as scrutiny from the US Food and Drug Administration and New York's attorney general - all of which have attracted significant media coverage.
Sacks acknowledged these issues, but said: “First and foremost, we reiterate that our products are safe.” He added: “Tens of billions of energy drinks manufactured and distributed not only by us, but by other companies, have been sold and safely consumed worldwide for 25 years.”
He pointed to the fact that a 16oz can of Monster contains “half the caffeine of a 16oz cup of coffeehouse brewed coffee”.
On the lawsuit, involving 14-year-old Anais Fournier who allegedly died from caffeine toxicity after consuming two 24-ounce cans of Monster, Sacks said the company was not aware of a “single instance” where its energy drinks had caused death.
“The allegations in that lawsuit claiming to the contrary are false and totally baseless and are not supported by either the science or the facts,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sacks also branded the focus on the fact that it labels its products as dietary supplements, instead of a food, as a “red herring”. Dietary supplements are not required to adhere to the same FDA rules on caffeine content as conventional foods.
But Sacks told analysts: “The current ingredients, none of which are secret or hidden, are fully permissible as a food and a supplement. In other words, we are confident that if we chose to do so, we could re-categorise Monster Energy drinks as a food.”
The group yesterday announced a slowdown in nine-month and Q3 profits, causing its share price to dive in after-hours trading.
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