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Monster Falls as Senators Call for Regulation

Sept. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Monster Beverage Corp., the largest U.S. energy drink maker by sales volume, fell the most in a month after two U.S. senators called for greater regulation of the beverages.

The shares slid 7 percent to $52.42 at 1:05 p.m. in New York and earlier dropped as much as 7.3 percent for the largest intraday decline since Aug. 10. Corona, California-based Monster gained 22 percent this year through yesterday.

Senators Richard Durbin of Illinois and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, both Democrats, wrote the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urging clarity on whether energy drinks qualify as dietary supplements, as they are currently marketed, or beverages, which are subject to greater regulatory scrutiny.

The senators also asked for further study of how energy drinks affect children’s health and that the agency regulate how much caffeine can be included in the beverages.

“The FDA currently regulates caffeine levels in soft drinks,” Durbin and Blumenthal wrote in the letter. “We urge the agency to assert its regulatory authority over caffeine levels in energy drinks marketed as beverages.”

Judy Lin Sfetcu, a spokeswoman for Monster who works for PondelWilkinson Inc., said in an interview that regulators’ interest in energy drinks is industrywide and that the company has no additional comment.

Monster last month disclosed that an unspecified attorney general was investigating its flagship drink and ingredients. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been investigating Monster, PepsiCo Inc. and Living Essentials LLC, the maker of the 5-Hour Energy drinks, a person familiar with the probe said last month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Altstedter in Toronto at aaltstedter@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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