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Monster’s stock recently rose 13 percent to $51.97, Bloomberg News reported on November 27, on the news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will probably take no action to curtail beverage companies’ production of energy drinks. This is so even though Monster Beverage Corp.’s energy drinks were implicated in the deaths of five people during the past year. The FDA apparently has decided to employ the aid of independent consultants "to determine whether the beverages may cause harm when consumed in excess or by those with pre-existing cardiac conditions," according to the Bloomberg News piece by Duane D. Stanford and Anna Edney.

The FDA noted in a letter to Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) that the "FDA has little reason to think energy drinks are unsafe when used in a responsible manner." Citing the fact that the energy drinks may have been used inappropriately, "the FDA would have no jurisdiction to take action against the manufacturer," according to Judy Hong, an analyst with Goldman Sachs. Because energy drinks are frequently sold as dietary supplements, they fly under the radar of the FDA’s regulations. The agency may eventually move to regulate the product’s use or require a change in labeling which could alter the playing field. The FDA plans to examine whether the energy drinks’ ingredients, in addition to caffeine, are safe; ingredients include guarana (a common ingredient in so-called diet pills) and taurine, neither of which, alone, the FDA has found to cause problems.

What should be done, if anything, about these so-called "energy drinks"? Is this much ado about nothing, or is it a real problem?

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