Birmingham & Black Country

Man died after eating Hero Instant Energy Mints, says coroner

John Jackson
Image caption John Jackson died from a caffeine overdose after eating high-energy mints

A man died from a caffeine overdose after eating too many high-energy mints, an inquest heard.

John Jackson was found dead at his home in Wednesbury, West Midlands, on 2 May after eating Hero Instant Energy Mints.

The 40-year-old had twice the recommended adult daily caffeine intake in his blood.

Coroner Robin Balmain, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said he would contact the Department of Health to see if action should be taken.

'Public needs to know'

Mr Jackson's daughter, Rebecca Court, 23, said her father had treated the energy products "like they were any other mint".

"There is a warning on them, but it's tiny and in the shops they're sold next to all the other mints," she said.

"It's scary. I think they should be sold behind the counter."

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Balmain said: "I think the public need to know about these mints.

"Each one contains as much caffeine as the leading energy drink.

"There are people who constantly chew on sweets.

"If they eat these mints, they might ingest a huge amount of caffeine without knowing it."

Mr Jackson, from Walsall Road, had a liver condition which was a contributory factor in his death.

However, the cause of death was given as caffeine toxicity.

'Aware of the dangers'

Mr Balmain said he had never come across caffeine overdose as a cause of death before.

He could not say how many of the sweets Mr Jackson had eaten before his death, or whether the deceased man was aware of their high caffeine content.

"He may not have have been aware of the dangers - I think there's a strong possibility of that," Mr Balmain said.

"These mints cost £4 for a packet of 12 but, nevertheless, they are mints and people may treat them as sweets."

A spokesperson for Hero Energy said it was shocked at the news of Mr Jackson's death.

He said the company was very vocal about the associated risks of caffeine consumption.

"We have many satisfied customers and their health and safety is very important to us," he said.

"We will continue to strive for greater levels of consumer education, so customers can make informed decisions about all caffeinated products."

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