ALBANY, N.Y. - Energy drinks are once again in the news with the announcement that the New York attorney general is conducting an investigation into the marketing practices of AMP (PepsiCo), Monster (Monster Beverage Corp.) and 5-Hour Energy (Living Essentials), the Wall Street Journal reports.
N.Y. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is looking into how the companies market and advertise their energy drinks€™ ingredients and health value. Schneiderman issued subpoenas last month to the companies in relation to his investigation.
Energy drinks are one of the stars in the beverage marketplace. U.S. sales at retail of the beverages jumped 16% in 2011 to reach $8.9 billion, according to Beverage Digest. That means energy drinks have captured 12% of the carbonated soda category.
This isn€™t the first official investigation into energy drinks. Three years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) looked into the safety of those beverages before concluding that the term "energy drink" doesn€™t fall under any agency rules.
The New York inquiry will look at whether the three companies mislead consumers with incorrect labels relating to caffeine content and other ingredients, and advertisements. It is early in the probe, which could include other companies before its conclusion.
The energy drink companies could receive civil fines and penalties if found to have broken state laws and to alter their labels and promotions. Starbucks announced earlier this year that it was getting into the energy drink business with its Refreshers line.