The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is closely watching the marketing of a growing number of caffeine-enhanced food products on the market and wants to know more about their safety, reported the Associated Press.
The FDA said it will look at the foods’ impact on children in part in response to Alert Energy, a caffeinated gum introduced by Wrigley. According to Wrigley, Alert Energy is a new energy product available for adults 25 to 49 that allows people to control the amount of caffeine they want on the go.
The agency is already investigating the safety of energy drinks and energy shots. Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner of foods, said that the only time FDA explicitly approved the added use of caffeine in a food or drink was in the 1950s for colas. The current proliferation of caffeine added to foods is “beyond anything FDA envisioned,” he told AP. “It is disturbing,” he said. “We’re concerned about whether they have been adequately evaluated.”
Taylor said the agency 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. He said he and other FDA officials have held meetings with some of the large food companies that have ventured into caffeinated products.
Food manufacturers have added caffeine to candy, nuts and other snack foods in recent years, said the report. Critics say it’s not enough for companies to say they are marketing the products to adults when the caffeine is added to items that are attractive to children. Taylor said the agency would look at the added caffeine in its totality. While one product might not cause adverse effects, the increasing number of caffeinated products on the market, including drinks, could mean more adverse health effects for children. (CSP Daily News: www.cspnet.com)