First They Came for Sparks and Four Loko, and We Said Nothing: New York Attorney General Looks to Ban Energy Drinks Without Alcohol

How bad could something this cool-looking be? (Getty Images)

Your 2:30 p.m. feeling is about to get a little rougher … at least if Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has his way. He is launching a probe to look into the “advertising, marketing, promotion, ingredients, usage and sale” of energy drinks, which include high amounts of caffeine and god knows what else, and which some opponents claim are marketed to teenagers. The three brands included in the probe are Monster, AMP and 5-hour Energy. (The latter of which we never thought of as a “drink” so much as a disgusting liquid dare waiting to happen. But then again, we aren’t the F.D.A.)

According to The New York Times, the state subpoenaed Monster Beverage, PepsiCo and Living Essentials on the grounds that these drinks violated federal law by promoting themselves as dietary supplements. Like how all the girls these days are drinking a 16-ounce of Monster to keep thin, right?

Investigators also claim that the drinks often do not disclose all of their ingredients. Probably because they are primarily composed of chemical compounds with names so long they wouldn’t fit on the back of a can.

Attorney General Scheiderman is taking the reins on this matter because the F.D.A. hasn’t cracked down on the beverages hard enough. In 2010, the administration sent a warning letter to four companies (none of which were listed in the state’s investigation), warning of the health risks that could come from ingesting up to 500 milligrams of caffeine. But the F.D.A. dropped the matter, instead focusing on energy drinks that included both caffeine and alcohol, which had been leading to late-night emergency-room visits from club kids who had run out of their regular Saturday night Adderall-and-vodka combo.

If found guilty of violating federal law regarding proper labeling, the drink companies could be fined heavily, and forced to change their cans’ labels.

Oddly, the world’s most popular energy drink, Red Bull, was not included in this list. But that’s because we all know what goes into Red Bull. Just good, old-fashioned ingredients like caffeine, 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, glucuronolactone, sucrose and glucose. Just like our moms used to make us for breakfast.