Monster Lawsuit Raises Questions About Caffeine

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Since energy drinks are classified as dietary supplements, they are not limited to the FDA's 200 parts per million caffeine limit on sodas. (Coca Cola Classic has 30 to 35 mg of caffeine per 12-ounce can, but 12 ounces of the Monster drink Fournier consumed would have four times that.) The FDA, however, still keeps track of deaths and hospitalizations attributed to products, FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess told ABCNews.com.

Since 2004, 18 hospitalizations and five deaths have been reported in connection with Monster Energy drinks, according to reports obtained by ABCNews.com from the American Association for Justice. It is not clear from the reports whether the victims had underlying health conditions.

AAJ got the "adverse event" reports from Wendy Crossland, Fournier's mother, who submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the FDA for Monster-related health problems after her daughter's death. Other energy drink brands are not included in the reports.

The FDA has not launched a formal investigation of Monster Beverage Corp., Burgess said.

Monster Beverage Corp. stock fell by 10 percent this afternoon, after it fell by more than 14 percent on Monday, following news stories about the deaths.

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