The world of social media is split on another topic! Not exactly surprising but the story itself is alluding to the ownership of responsibility when it comes to decisions, excess and addiction. Patricia Terry is speaking to the public regarding the death of her grandson Cory Terry, who collapsed after chugging down his final Red Bull. Terry, states his grandmother, was an avid Red Bull drinker. The medic’s report mentioned Terry’s mass consumption of the energy drink and while his death was pointing to idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, Terry’s grandmother states the Red Bull contributed to his death. She is now suing Red Bull for $85 million and the city for failing to respond in a timely fashion. The suit has exploded debates across the cyber world.
The Energy Drink Debate
Special Note from FDA*
There is no certainty that a reported adverse event can be attributed to a particular product or ingredient. The number of adverse event reports in CAERS received by FDA and the adverse event report itself about a particular product only reflects information AS REPORTED and does not represent any conclusion by FDA regarding a causal relationship or association with the product or ingredient. Due to the continuous inclusion of new or updated information into the CAERS system, reports released from CAERS containing adverse event data may change over time.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has continued to file complaints from consumers who purchased energy drinks. Over the course of seven years, the FDA reported over 18 deaths and 13,000 emergency room visits resulting from a possible link of consumption of energy drinks. In this debate is the cause of excess – many people like Terry are drinking energy drinks several times a day to continue on with their day. This brings to the surface the ingredients in the popular energy drink:
- B Vitamins
- Glucose and sucrose
- Artificial colors, instol, sodium citrate and carbonated water.
Overall, the Red Bull drink contains similar ingredients to other energy drinks and surprisingly, studies have shown the caffeine levels are lower than in Monster and Rockstar. Not so surprisingly, the caffeine levels also surpass a can of coke by nearly three times, reports a study by Vanderbilt University. The debate continues on and not just within the United States. Countries like Norway, Demark and other European nations had previously introduced legislation to ban the consumption of energy drinks due to the lack of scientific data behind their ingredients [UPDATE * Red Bull representatives have advised the ban is not in effect and is permitted in the above countries.] With an $85 million lawsuit now pending for the energy drink Mecca, the next question falls to who is at fault.
Ownership of Responsibility
Terry was 33-years-old, playing ball at the Stephen Decatur Middle School in Brooklyn. The amount of cans Terry consumed was not mentioned, but his grandmother stated he reportedly had been drinking Red Bull for 45 minutes prior to playing ball. Friends and family members called Terry a healthy person with an active lifestyle who shunned smoking. With possible contributing factors from genetics or a potential undiagnosed illness, could Red Bull just be the fall guy in this lawsuit?
Dozens of social media statuses are exploding in debate over the death and the lawsuit. Many are defending Red Bull, calling it an excessive habit atop of potential unknown health issues. A Red Bull Spokesperson sent a generalized e-mail, advising the company has sold over 35 billion cans in over 160 countries over the past two decades. In addition, the company referred to health authorities who approved the drink as safe.
Legislators have fought energy drink manufacturers as companies like Red Bull promised to reduce the amount of caffeine in their drinks. The company, along with Monster, has promised not to encourage excessive consumption and many schools have removed the drinks from menus and vending machines. The American Academy of Family Physicians is promising to advocate a ban of the energy drinks for consumers younger than 18.
Moderation is key with any one habit. Common sense dictates that when one consumes fast-food daily, the chances of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and more are imminent. The same can be said for consuming a drink that is known for its ability to create a caffeinated response. Other deaths related to energy drinks uncover one common thread: the consumers drank more than a normal allotment. Should a company then face legal and financial ramifications from the addiction of a consumer? If that is the case, it leaves many to ponder how far, if this lawsuit is approved, others can press the point of responsibility on companies.
The debate will rage on as the population is split on the aspects and factors pertaining to responsibility. One grandmother looks to plan a funeral for her grandson, taken much too soon. Terry leaves behind his 13-year-old son and what many considered an active, fun-filled and healthy lifestyle. The scenario is a sad one; a father goes to engage in sports and instead dies on the court after consuming an energy drink. While many debates will claim a bias, many will see the middle point. To what degree should a company label a drink addictive for consumption, and to what degree will consumers learn to manage their habits with moderation? The $85 million lawsuit against Red Bull is in progress. Thoughts on this subject? Share and comment.
An Editorial by: Angelina Bouc