we often see reports that “someone ate XX food abnormal”, some abnormal even death. However, “abnormal after eating a certain food” is only a selected “statement”. The accurate fact is that the food was included in the food before the abnormality occurred – and this fact is still incomplete, because there may be many other factors related to the abnormality, such as illness or other stimuli. Every time
appear, there will always be a panic. I have no choice but to eat any kind of food. We can refuse one or two kinds of food, or even ten kinds of eight kinds of food. However, such problems may arise in any kind of food. Every time we refuse one kind of food we like, it will add some inconvenience to our life. From the perspective of society, how to deal with such accidents?
FDA has a “side effect reporting system” (CAERS) to record the side effect reports received. If a food ingredient is added to a common food as a food additive, it must be approved by the FDA before it can be used. Side effects associated with such foods are not required to be reported. If it is an “active ingredient” as a dietary supplement, it does not need to be approved by the FDA. The FDA can ban its use only if there is evidence that it is unsafe. But if there are serious side effects associated with it, regular manufacturers must report to the FDA within 15 days. However, the FDA encourages consumers and health care workers to report side effects, whether it’s food or dietary supplements. The FDA has made it clear that they take these reports seriously, but the reports themselves do not indicate that the side effects must be caused by causes suspected by the reporter. These reports are more of a clue for the FDA to explore the safety of these products.
and “energy drink” is a relatively new type of food. Its main “active ingredients” are caffeine, taurine and glucopyranolactone. The most famous energy drink is red bull, which is sold in dozens of countries around the world. In the United States, it is sold as a regular food, so the side-effect cases related to it are “voluntary reports”. Between 2004 and 2012, there were more than 20 records in the CAERS database, most of which were nausea, vomiting and abnormal heart rate.
Red Bull’s “side effect legend” is more frightening in Europe. In 1991, there were three deaths related to red bull in Sweden. Two of them had drunk a mixture of Red Bull and alcohol before their death, while the other had drunk red bull during strenuous exercise. In 1999, an 18-year-old boy died on the basketball court after drinking three cans of red bull before the game. Although the investigation results can not confirm that the deaths were caused by red bull, these accidents have caused the food safety department’s concern, and some European countries, such as France, Denmark and Norway, have even banned the sale of red bull for many years. The European Commission thinks the bans are unreasonable, and they were lifted only a few years ago.
there is also a famous energy drink called “five hour energy” in the United States, which is sold as a dietary supplement. Its active ingredients are the same as red bull, but the content is different. In the CAERS database, it reports more side effects. Between 2004 and 2012, there were more than 90 cases, typical symptoms including convulsion, dizziness, cardiovascular abnormalities and so on. The most serious is more than a dozen deaths.
have no safety problems whether they are used as conventional food or dietary supplements. Caffeine, needless to say, is no different from coffee and tea. Taurine and glucuronolactone are substances originally present in human body, which have been evaluated by European food safety agency and other agencies. It is considered that the amount of them in energy drinks does not cause safety problems. And other ingredients, vitamins, sugar, etc., are more conventional food ingredients. What is the cause of those side effects? Is energy drink “lying down and shot”? It’s still a mystery. Therefore, the FDA only collates and publishes the records of these side effects, but can not make the conclusion that it is “safe” or “harmful”. It just reminds the public that although these products can stimulate you to wake up, they can’t replace rest and sleep!