FDA chews out buzzy gum

FDA chews out buzzy gum

The debut of Wrigley's caffeinated gum spurs federal reaction, and not regarding dental health.

Apparently, the caffeinated Cracker Jacks were OK.

It wasn't until the jacked up chewing gum hit the market that the FDA started buzzing.

Wrigley heralded the arrival of its Alert gum earlier this week with a full-page ad in USA Today. In response, the FDA cracked another warning shot about added caffeine, reports foodpolitics.com.

Each piece of Alert has about 40 mg of caffeine, about the amount in half a cup of coffee. The 8-piece pack will get you about as jittery as the average day soaking up the wifi and lattes at Starbucks, without, apparently, having to repeatedly ask for the restroom key.

Upon Alert's debut, Michael Taylor, the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, issued this official comment:

“The only time that FDA explicitly approved the added use of caffeine in a food was for cola and that was in the 1950s. Today, the environment has changed. Children and adolescents may be exposed to caffeine beyond those foods in which caffeine is naturally found and beyond anything FDA envisioned when it made the determination regarding caffeine in cola. For that reason, FDA is taking a fresh look at the potential impact that the totality of new and easy sources of caffeine may have on the health of children and adolescents, and if necessary, will take appropriate action.”

“We may be seeing the beginning of the end of the more-buzz-is-better approach to food and drink,” writes Nancy Shute on npr.org, with a nod to the FDA's recent focus on caffeine in alcoholic beverages and in non-alcoholic energy drinks. In the meantime, you can turn to caffeinated water, jelly beans, waffles, jerky and potato chips to get you through.

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