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LA cops urged to restrict energy drink sales to kids

A Los Angeles City councilman is asking the police department to crack down on kids buying energy drinks, saying the buzz-worthy beverages contain far more caffeine than recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Councilman Bernard Parks, a former LAPD chief, is pushing for warning labels and restricting the amounts of energy drinks a customer can buy. He is also pushing to change drink placement on shelves to prevent children from buying them [PDF link to city motion].

In "many instances they are drinking seven to 10 times more caffeine than if they were drinking a regular soda," Parks said.

The push comes after a Consumer Reports study found some energy drinks to contain more caffeine than printed on the label, and as the FDA investigates claims made in 2012 that five deaths are possibly linked to the popular energy drink Monster.

"I think it is the FDA's job primarily to set standards but we as a city can do something as far as purchase location, labeling, and who gets access," Parks said.

Parks also recommended that LA County research the effects of energy drinks similar to studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Monster energy drinks contain 240 milligrams per 24-ounce can, about two and a half times the amount in an average cup of coffee, according to Consumer Reports.

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The South Los Angeles community in Parks’ district has been called a "food desert" due to lack of healthy options, and tops the charts in obesity rates at 30 percent of kids, according to the LA County Department of Health.

"What a waste of time," said South Los Angeles resident Wayne Clinton. "There's so many other things that need to be done."

With parts of South LA neglected, Clinton suggested the streets of South LA be "swept up" before the council focuses on banning caffeinated drinks.

"Look across the way -- you got alleys that need cleaned up," Clinton said.

The motion was submitted on March 6. Parks said he hopes it will move forward in committee this week.

NBC4's Michelle Valles contributed to this report.