FDA's New Target: Caffeine Lurking in Your Chips, Gum

Officials fear effects on kids
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2013 6:48 AM CDT
FDA's New Target: Caffeine Lurking in Your Chips, Gum
This product image provided by the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company shows packaging for Alert Energy Caffeine Gum.   (AP Photo/Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company)

Gum, jelly beans, trail mix, and potato chips: Added caffeine is popping up everywhere these days, "beyond anything FDA envisioned," says an official, who adds that the FDA only once offered specific consent for added caffeine in a food—for colas in the 1950s. Now, the agency has announced a review of the products' health effects on kids, the AP reports. Though companies say the items are labeled and marketed for adults, that may not deter kids when it comes to candy, say opponents.

Wrigley's Alert Energy gum has about 40mg of caffeine per piece—about half a cup of coffee's worth. Jelly Belly's Extreme Sport Beans have 50mg in a 100-calorie pack."One serving of any of these foods isn't likely to harm anyone," notes a health advocate. "The concern is that it will be increasingly easy to consume caffeine throughout the day, sometimes unwittingly." The chemical can hurt children's neurological and cardiovascular growth, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. (More FDA stories.)

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