Alert Energy Caffeine Gum

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The back of each Alert gum container reads “Moderate your daily caffeine intake. Not recommended for children or persons sensitive to caffeine.”

The ad space was purchased and marketing had already begun in trade magazines such as this May edition of the Progressive Grocer.  Yet Wrigley top execs still popped the bubble on this gum in the midst of its official launch following discussions with the Food and Drug Administration on the impact this gum might have on children and teens.  Well done Wrigley!

An Alert gum dispenser contains “the equivalent of 4 cups of coffee in your pocket” reports FDA deputy commissioner Michael Taylor.  Each one of the 8 pieces of gum contains 40 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of 1/2 cup of coffee.  As you chew each stick, caffeine is released into your saliva and is directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the cheeks and under the tongue.

Wrigley’s President Casey Keller said “After discussions with the FDA, we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation’s food supply.”  He went on to add “There is need for changes in the regulatory framework to better guide the consumers and the industry about the appropriate level and use of caffeinated products.  In an effort to support this process, and out of respect for the FDA, we have paused the production, sales and marketing of Alert.  This will give the FDA time to develop a new regulatory framework for the addition of caffeine to food and drinks.”

Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine with the FDA stated “The company’s action demonstrated real leadership and commitment to the public health.  We hope others in the food industry will exercise similar restraint.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stated “Avoidance of caffeine in young people poses a great societal challenge because of the widespread availability of caffeine-containing substances and a lack of awareness of potential risks.”

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The AAP voiced concerns regarding caffeine’s potential long-term damage to  developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems and the risk of physical dependence and addiction.  This was in addition to caffeine’s immediate effects resulting in accelerated heart rate, increased blood pressure, motor activity, and changes in attentiveness, mood and sleep disturbance.   What’s next on the FDA’s agenda?  Maybe that new caffeinated ice cream, just in time for summer?

References:

http://www.wrigley.com/global/press/news-details.aspx?id=4535

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/05/25/peds.2011-0965.full.pdf



Categories: Nutrition & Wellness

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