FDA to review use of caffeine in food, drinks as new chewing gum hits stores

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Monday it will review the use of caffeine in food and drinks as a new chewing gum containing the coffee ingredient hit stores.

The FDA said it was concerned with the proliferation of caffeinated food and drinks available even to children and the review aims to protect young and adult consumers from the adverse effect of such products to their health.

It was not only referring to Wrigley’s newly-released Alert Energy Caffeine Gum, which contains 40 milligrams of caffeine per piece, the equivalent of half of caffeine in a cup of coffee or in a can of Red Bull energy drink. The FDA was also referring to energy drinks, water and popcorn spiked with the stimulant.

Previous FDA reports linked energy drinks to 25 deaths and 150 illnesses over the years.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health watchdog group, said the many products in the market containing caffeine make it easy to consume copious amount of caffeine in a single day without even knowing it.

Dr. Steven Abrams, a professor of pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on nutrition warned that consuming too much caffeine may cause anxiety, restlessness, sleepnesses, rapid heartbeat and even seizures in severe cases, according to NBC News.

The FDA last reviewed caffeine as a food additive in the 1950s and set limits in the addition of the substance to cola drinks.

Mike Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said they will take action based on their findings.

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