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How much caffeine can kill you? Panera’s ‘Charged Lemonade’ faces death sentence after girl dies

Legal action follows a case where parents claimed their daughter died after consuming one of the beverages

Panera’s Charged Lemonades in Fuji Apple Cranberry, Strawberry Lemon Mint, and Mango Citrus.—Panera

The safety of caffeine consumption is under scrutiny as Panera Bread faces a lawsuit alleging a connection between their “Charged Lemonades” and fatal cardiac events. 

This legal action follows a previous case where parents claimed their daughter, with a heart condition, died after consuming one of the beverages. Panera, however, asserts the safety of its products, stating that the lawsuits lack merit.

Concerns about high caffeine content extend beyond Panera, with Senator Chuck Schumer urging an FDA investigation into PRIME Energy drinks earlier this year. 

Doctors have cautioned against children consuming these beverages, emphasising that there is no proven safe caffeine dose for children, and those under 12 should avoid it. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged 12 to 18 should not exceed 100 mg of caffeine daily due to potential health risks.

For adults, the FDA suggests a daily caffeine intake of up to approximately 400 milligrams, equivalent to four or five cups of coffee.

However, individual sensitivity to caffeine varies, and excessive consumption can lead to adverse effects such as insomnia, jitters, and upset stomach. 

Dr Randy Peters from Allegheny Health Network warns of potential toxicity with doses around 1,200 milligrams, causing severe symptoms like palpitations and panic attacks.

Panera’s Charged Lemonade varieties, including Mango Yuzu Citrus, Strawberry Lemon Mint, and Blood Orange, have raised eyebrows due to their substantial caffeine content. 

Discrepancies in the reported caffeine levels for the same product and size have been noted, creating confusion for consumers. A large 30-ounce Mango Yuzu Citrus Charged Lemonade is listed as containing 390 milligrams of caffeine and 124 grams of sugar in lawsuits and on Panera’s website, while another page cites 235 milligrams of caffeine and 74 grams of sugar for the same product without ice.

As questions surrounding caffeine levels intensify, Panera has added a cautionary note on its website, advising consumers to “consume in moderation” and explicitly stating that the beverages are “NOT RECOMMENDED FOR children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or nursing women.”

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