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Monster drinks under attack: Does Monster market to children?

Monster drinks: Prosecutors in New York and San Francisco are joining forces to investigate Monster drinks, the high-caffeine beverages that they say are marketed to children. The recently revealed alliance was formed last month.

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New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, seen here at a November 2013 press conference in New Yor, is partnering with the city attorney of San Francisco to investigate allegations that Monster Beverage is marketing its highly caffeinated drinks to children.

Richard Drew/AP/File

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The San Francisco city attorney and New York state attorney general have joined forces to investigate whether Monster Beverage Corp. is marketing its highly caffeinated drinks to children.

The joint probe began last month, just before a federal judge in California tossed out a lawsuit filed by Monster seeking to stop an investigation by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

Mr. Herrera has filed a lawsuit claiming the drinks pose health risks and accusing Monster of violating state law by misbranding its drinks and marketing them to minors. He began his investigation of the Corona, Calif.-based company in 2012.

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has issued subpoenas to Monster and other energy-drink makers as part of his ongoing investigation.

Herrera said he believes the cooperative efforts between the two prosecutors' offices will prove beneficial for the public.

"We are disappointed that Monster has remained defiant in marketing products to children," Herrera said. "We hope this effort will cause the company to correct its irresponsible marketing practices."

Monster spokeswoman Tammy Taylor said the energy drinks are not marketed to children and aren't highly caffeinated. A 16-ounce can of Monster contains less than half the caffeine of a similar-sized cup of coffee, she said.

Monster has sold more than 10 billion energy drinks worldwide over 11 years, Taylor added. On its cans, Monster says the beverage is not recommended for children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant women, or women who are nursing.

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Herrera has said coffee is typically served hot and consumed more slowly than energy drinks.

Monster and other popular energy drinks have come under increasing scrutiny. The Food and Drug Administration has been investigating reports of deaths linked to energy drinks, but the agency noted that the reports don't prove the drinks caused the deaths.

Monster has repeatedly said its drinks are safe and it does not know of any fatalities caused by its products.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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