03/20/2013 02:27 pm ET Updated Mar 20, 2013

Monster Cites Food-Stamp Economy As One Reason For Big Switch: Report

The growing population of food stamp recipients is one reason why Monster Beverage made a small change to its energy drinks.

Last month, Monster Beverage began classifying its caffeine-charged cans as beverages, as opposed to dietary supplements. The change frees the company from following a number of regulations and didn't require any modification to the beverage itself, but it does mean that Americans can now use their food stamps to purchase the drinks, the New York Times reports. That's because food stamps cannot be used to purchase energy drinks that qualify as supplements, according to the Food and Drug Association

Unsurprisingly, food stamp eligibility was a consideration in Monster's decision to make the switch, Michael Sitrick, a spokesman for Monster, told the NYT. The number of food stamp recipients climbed to a record high of 47.7 million in November.

Monster declined to comment to The Huffington Post on their decision to change the drink's classification.

Americans may be alarmed that Monster energy drinks are now eligible for purchase using food stamps. A 2012 report cited Monster drinks as a contributing factor in five deaths since 2004. The company has fiercely contested a majority of these claims, in one case on the grounds that "caffeine toxicity" was not confirmed to be the factor in the death of a 14-year-old girl.

A can of Monster comes with 92 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounces. An 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams of caffeine, according to



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