Monster, Celsius, Bang and More Energy Drinks Pulled From Store Shelves in Recall

Many top brand-name energy drinks have been recalled due to failure to meet Canadian safety labeling requirements.

Caffeinated energy drinks have always been a little controversial, and last week Canada's government took action. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced recalls on 20 different energy drink products on Friday, though they were all recalled separately over the last two months. The agency found that these drinks have issues with the way their caffeine content is described on the labels.

The CFIA recall list published on Friday includes well-known brands like 5-Hour Energy, Bang, C4, Celsius, G Fuel, Monster, and Prime, and applies broadly to many different products from each of those brands. It also includes more obscure brands or some that may only be available in Canada. The reason for all of these recalls is that the labels do not list the caffeine content in French. Canada is a bilingual country with primary French speakers in many areas, so this could be dangerous for shoppers who do not understand the English-language packaging.

The recall mandates that shop owners remove these energy drinks from their shelves until the company creates labels in compliance with CFIA rules. Consumers are also urged to dispose of their drinks or return them to the location they were purchased for a refund. The announcement mentions particular concern for online shoppers who may hold a large personal stock of these drinks at home.

The potential adverse effects of excess caffeine are well-documented and well-known to most adults these days, though some may not think about the content of their average energy drink. While a typical cup of hot coffee contains about 60 miligrams of caffeine, many energy drinks contain 200 miligrams per can. In some cases they are also combined with other stimulants or potential irritants such as niacin or taurine in high doses.

However, it appears the Canadian government does not intend to stop companies from selling energy drinks with high levels of caffeine – only force them to label their products more thoroughly. This is an interesting precedent to set in Canada since the U.S. has plenty of outspoken critics of energy drinks as well. Here, many brands use bilingual labeling in English and Spanish, though it is not a widely-adopted requirement.

For now, the CFIA urges Canadian consumers to return their energy drinks so that they cannot accidentally fall into the hands of an unsuspecting French speaker. The agency also has a form where consumers can report retailers who might still try to sell these products. All the energy drink brands are cooperating with the government on this recall.