Burns seeks energy drink sales ban

Staff Writer

Ald. Will Burns (4th) told constituents last week that he supports legislation introduced by Ald. George Cardenas (12th) that would prohibit selling energy drinks to minors.

Cardenas, who is the chairman of the City Council Health Committee, introduced the legislation to City Council last year.

Burns said he supports the legislation primarily because it can help to open up a dialogue between the city and beverage manufacturers that could lead ultimately to labeling that would disclose the amount of caffeine they contain.

“Most energy drinks are sort of like pop, right? They tell you how much caffeine is in it like Redbull,” Burns said. “But there are others like Monster and 5 Hour Energy where we don’t know how much caffeine is in it.”

Cardenas introduced the bill after the Food and Drug Administration announced it would be investigating manufacturers of beverages often marketed as energy-boosting drinks or shots that contain high levels of caffeine or other stimulants, after reports they caused the deaths of five young people across the country.

“There have been a number of incidents of young people consuming way too many of these energy drinks and becoming very sick and rushed to emergency rooms and hospitals. So it’s a public health issue,” Burns said at the ward meeting on Monday, Jan. 28.

“The bill that Ald. Cardenas and I have filed calls for the prohibition of the sale of energy drinks to people under the age of 18, which is probably too difficult to administer in the city. But at least it gets people’s attention and we can have a discussion about requiring labeling. Which the city of Chicago can do and we can become a model for other cities.”