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US: Monster Beverage Corp San Francisco spat heads to court

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Monster Beverage Corp has sued San Francisco's attorney general, claiming that his probe into alleged marketing to children is “motivated by publicity rather than science”.

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In a lawsuit filed on Monday (29 April), Monster accused Dennis Herrera of singling out its products from competitors in his bid to impose new labelling and marketing regulations on energy drinks in the city. Monster also said the regulations would not cover coffee houses, which it claims sells products with higher caffeine levels.

“Today, any child can walk into a Starbucks and buy an unlimited number of 16oz brewed coffee drinks, each with more than twice the caffeine as (Monster's) 16oz energy drinks,” the suit said.

Herrera yesterday hit back at the law suit, branding Monster “irresponsible”.

“Monster Energy is claiming an unfettered right to continue marketing its products to children and youth, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that its products pose serious risks to young people's health and safety,” he said.

In a letter sent in March, included in the court filings, Herrera demanded Monster lower the caffeine content of its drinks, change its labels and stop promoting over-consumption. He previously launched an investigation into Monster's marketing practises. Herrera said that he had been due to meet with Monster tomorrow to discuss voluntary changes to its marketing strategy.

This month, the American Beverage Association said energy drinks companies are "voluntarily" changing their marketing attitudes in line with government guidance in the country.


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