16 Jul 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: The US FDA has said that the addition of caffeine to children's foods like jelly beans and chewing gum is ‘dangerous' and has warned of a possible crackdown.
The increase of ‘high energy' food products in the market sporting substantial added caffeine has caused worry and the US FDA believes that the trend is very disturbing.
US FDA deputy commissioner, Mr Michael Taylor, said, "The rise in such caffeine-added products outside the beverage industry is very disturbing. We believe that some in the food industry are on a dubious, potentially dangerous path."
In late April, Wrigley introduced its Alert Energy Caffeine Gum, saying the product is aimed for adults and ‘lets people control the amount of caffeine they want on-the-go.'
Commenting on this, Mr Taylor said on the FDA website, "The gum is just one more unfortunate example of the trend to add caffeine to food. One pack of this gum is like having four cups of coffee in your pocket. Our concern is about caffeine appearing in a range of new products, including ones that may be attractive and readily available to children and adolescents, without careful consideration of their cumulative impact."
In 2010, the FDA moved to block the addition of caffeine in alcoholic beverages, and late last year raised questions about high-caffeine ‘energy drinks' after several deaths were linked to the consumption of one brand, Monster Energy.
Mr Taylor said the FDA was especially worried about caffeine added to foods children might easily eat, and was considering whether to place limits on it.
He has called on the industry to practice voluntary restraint while the FDA studies the issue. "We hope this can be a turning point for all to prevent the irresponsible addition of caffeine to food and beverages."