CHICAGO — Wrigley has put the brakes on its new Alert Energy Caffeine Gum, whose introduction last week prompted the Food and Drug Administration to launch an investigation into the health impact of “new and easy sources of caffeine” on children.
“After discussions with the FDA, we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation’s food supply,” said Casey Keller, president of Wrigley North America, in a statement.
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“There is a need for changes in the regulatory framework to better guide the consumers and the industry about the appropriate level and use of caffeinated products. In an effort to support this process, and out of respect for the FDA, we have paused production, sales and marketing of Alert.”
The only time the FDA approved the use of caffeine in food was for cola in the 1950s.
“Today, the environment has changed. Children and adolescents may be exposed to caffeine beyond those foods in which caffeine is naturally found and beyond anything FDA envisioned when it made the determination regarding caffeine in cola,” said FDA deputy commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor, who has vowed to “take appropriate action,” if necessary.
Read more: Energy Drink Business Is Booming, But...
In other energy product news, San Francisco has filed a lawsuit against Monster Energy Corp., accusing the company of marketing to children as young as 6 years old, according to reports.
The lawsuit comes after Monster sued an attorney for the city over demands that the company reduce caffeine levels and stop marketing to children. Monster contends that only the FDA has regulatory authority over energy drinks.
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