A hearing on Chicago City Councilman Ed Burke's (14th) proposed energy drink ban fell flat Tuesday after lots of talk but zero action.
DNAinfo Chicago reports the Committee on Health and Environmental Protection's nearly three-hour hearing was fruitless after measures to ban certain highly caffeinated energy drinks or place age restrictions on them were tabled with no vote.
As health experts and lobbyists with ties to the energy drink industry made their case to either ban or permit the drinks, the Sun-Times reports even "gut-wrenching" testimony from a Maryland mom whose teen daughter died after downing two 24-ounce Monster energy drinks in one day failed to sway the aldermen.
Dr. Howard Axe, president of the Chicago Medical Society, testified the drinks pose "serious health risks" to adults and children, but conceded those most in danger are individuals with pre-existing conditions, reports DNAinfo. Axe added while not illegal, such drinks are "just highly irresponsible."
While the committee only agreed to discuss the matter in the future, the Tribune reports there was one "productive" element of the talks: Plenty of work for "well-connected lobbyists, attorneys and consultants."
According to the paper, lobbyists at Tuesday's hearing included former 12th Ward Alderman Mark Fary, hired by Red Bull; one of former Mayor Daley's political chiefs, Victor Reyes, hired by the American Beverage Association and former state legislator Sam Panayotovich, hired by 7-Eleven Inc.
Earlier this year, the city's most powerful alderman proposed a ban on "highly caffeinated" energy drinks with at least 180 milligrams-per-container (relative to can size) containing Taurine or Guarana.
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