Most Americans are now familiar with 5-Hour Energy, those tiny red-and-yellow bottles near most checkout counters. The producer promises four calories and zero sugar with a blend of B-vitamins, amino acids, nutrients and "about as much caffeine as a cup of premium coffee."
However, an independent test conducted by consumerlab.com in 2012, found vitamin levels thousands of times higher than recommended daily allowances. Meanwhile, Forbes' lab tests confirmed the company's caffeine claims: 206 milligrams of caffeine in the Extra Strength 5-Hour bottles, compared to 260 mg in a tall coffee from Starbucks.
Friday morning, the Idaho attorney general's office announced it had reached a settlement with the producers of 5-Hour Energy following claims of misrepresentation, including allegations from consumers who experienced a "crash" after consumption.
Living Essentials and Innovation Ventures deny any violations of Idaho law, but have agreed to stop saying 5-Hour Energy had "sponsorships, benefits or ingredients they don't have." The producers now promise that any new marketing materials for 5-Hour Energy that use the word "crash" shall not use the words "no sugar crash." Additionally, they must include label warnings for children and women who are pregnant or nursing.
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said producers of 5-Hour-Energy for the next 3 1/2 years will not use or hire persons under the age of 18 to promote products or appear in ads.
“Ensuring companies make accurate statements about their products is important to consumers and the marketplace,” said Wasden.
The companies will pay $9,000 to the AG's office for fees and costs of the investigation and litigation.