FDA Says No to Caffeinated Gum

Wrigley's new caffeinated gum, Alert Energy Gum, only lasted a couple of weeks on the shelves of supermarkets, grocery stores and convenient stores after the FDA became concerned about the amount of caffeine each piece of gum offered.

With 40 milligrams of caffeine (equal to half a cup of coffee) in each piece, it's no shock as to why the FDA was concerned, especially because we live in a world where energy drinks and coffee thrive. Although other gum companies have released their own caffeinated items, like Mentos's Up2U Gum and Jolt's energy gum, the FDA has become recently concerned with the amount of added caffeine in foods and drinks.

In fact, the main worry the FDA has about caffeinated beverages and foods is that most of the products are marketed to children, who shouldn't be consuming energy drinks and coffee throughout the day. The FDA's limit for caffeine consumed each day is 400 milligrams, the equivalent of four or five cups of coffee. This limit is set for adults, but the FDA discourages the consumption of caffeine or caffeinated items by children and youths.

Gum is an item consumed by people of all ages, so unlike alcohol, it isn't blocked from being purchased by children or adolescents. In a statement from the FDA, Michael R. Taylor, the deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the agency says, "One pack of this gum is like having four cups of coffee in your pocket. Caffeine is even being added to jelly beans, marshmallows, sunflower seeds and other snacks for its stimulant effect."

While the package of Alert Energy Gum has eight pieces, it's quite easy for a single person to chew an entire pack in one day. In fact, many Americans are guilty of being chain chewers. If caffeinated gum were chewed in such a manner, many people would take in too much caffeine on a daily basis, especially if they consume caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, soda or energy drinks.

Taylor praise Wrigley for taking the product off of the market once the FDA raised concerns about added caffeine in general.

The concern raised by the FDA calls for us to wonder if caffeinated beverages or foods, including caffeinated gum, will be restricted from children and younger adults, or if a certain amount of consumption by individual persons will be limited. Caffeine has the potential to produce negative effects on sleep, heart rates and blood pressure and can cause headaches and dizziness and increase anxiety, .

But for now, you won't see Alert Energy Gum on the shelves in your local grocery or convenient store while the FDA investigates caffeinated foods and drinks.

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