U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is amped up about high-caffeine energy drinks that he says are targeting children.
On Monday, Dec. 16, Blumenthal was joined by Jennifer Harris, the Director of Marketing Initiatives at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, in calling on Red Bull and Rockstar Energy to remove toys bearing their logo from retail stores in Connecticut and across the country.
Despite statements by both Red Bull and Rockstar claiming the companies do not market to children, a toy car bearing Red Bull’s logo and a toy boat bearing Rockstar’s logo were found on store shelves in Connecticut, according to a press release from Blumenthal's office.
“Energy drink companies have repeatedly promised—including before the Senate Commerce Committee—to stop marketing their products to children and adolescents. Yet the examples I highlighted today prove that Red Bull and Rockstar have not made good on these promises to the public," Blumenthal said. "I will continue to hold these companies accountable for their actions, and I will not yield in this fight until all toys bearing the logos of energy drink companies are removed from store shelves."
"In the meantime," the Connecticut Democrat added, "I urge parents to beware this holiday shopping season of toys that glorify energy drink products and other highly-caffeinated beverages that can harm their child’s health.”
Last month, Blumenthal and three of his colleagues sent letters to Red Bull and Rockstar expressing concern that the toy car and toy boat targeted children and contradicted both companies’ claims that they don’t market to this demographic.
“In light of public health concerns regarding the consumption of high levels of caffeine by children and adolescents, we are deeply concerned by the marketing of [this] toy,” the senators wrote in both letters.
As the popularity of energy drinks has increased, so too has concern about the potential health risks these highly caffeinated products pose, the release from the Senator's office states. In addition to asking Red Bull, Rockstar, and Monster Energy to end their advertising practices to children and adolescents, Blumenthal has also requested that the companies place a precautionary statement on their energy drink cans that makes clear the beverages are not intended for individuals under 18, pregnant or nursing women and those sensitive to caffeine.