View attachment 32819 Wrigley said on Wednesday that it was taking a new caffeinated gum off the market temporarily while the Food and Drug Administration investigated the safety of added caffeine.
The company said it had stopped new sales and marketing of Alert Energy Caffeine Gum “out of respect” for the F.D.A., which said it would investigate the health effects of added caffeine in foods just as Wrigley introduced Alert late last month. A stick of the gum is equivalent to half a cup of coffee.
“After discussions with the F.D.A., we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation’s food supply,” Wrigley North America’s president, Casey Keller, said in a statement. “There is a need for changes in the regulatory framework to better guide the consumers and the industry about the appropriate level and use of caffeinated products.”
Mr. Keller said the company had stopped production and sales of the gum to give the agency time to regulate caffeine-added products.
Michael R. Taylor, F.D.A.’s deputy commissioner of foods, said Wrigley’s decision to stop production for now “demonstrates real leadership and commitment to the public health.” He said the company made the move after a series of discussions with the agency.
“We hope others in the food industry will exercise similar restraint,” Mr. Taylor said.
Food manufacturers have added caffeine to candy, nuts and other snack foods in recent years. Jelly Belly Extreme Sport Beans, for example, have 50 milligrams of caffeine in each 100-calorie pack, while Arma Energy Snx markets trail mix, chips and other products that have caffeine.
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 it has been linked to harmful effects on young people’s developing neurological and cardiovascular systems.
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