The FDA’s has decided to review the safety of added caffeine in food products and its effects on children and adolescents. This decision is in response to a caffeinated gum product introduced this week by Wrigley. The product, called Alert Energy Gum, promises “The right energy, right now.” The FDA is already investigating the safety of energy drinks and energy shots, prompted by consumer reports of illness and death.

Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner of foods has said that the practice of adding caffeine to foods is “beyond anything FDA envisioned”, when it approved the added use of caffeine in the 1950s for colas. “It is disturbing,” Taylor said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We’re concerned about whether [these products] have been adequately evaluated.”

The FDA will look at the potential impact these “new and easy sources” of caffeine will have on children’s health and will take action if necessary. Major medical associations have warned that too much caffeine can be dangerous for children, who have less ability to process the stimulant than adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics says caffeine has been linked to harmful effects on young people’s developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems. Critics say it’s not enough for the companies to say they are marketing the products to adults when the caffeine is added to items like candy that are attractive to children.

The use of added caffeine by food manufacturers has expanded in recent years to include candy, nuts and other snack foods. Jelly Belly “Extreme Sport Beans,” for example, have 50 mg of caffeine in each 100-calorie pack, while Arma Energy Snx markets trail mix, chips and other products that have caffeine.

If you or a loved one has suffered illness, a serious medical event or death as a result of the use or consumption of a food or drink product containing added caffeine, please contact the food safety lawyers at Smith & Vanture. The firm has handled a number of cases involving food safety issues including Peter Pan peanut butter tainted with salmonella and McDonald’s French fries containing food undisclosed allergens.You may contact the firm toll free at (800) 443-4529 or