The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is having concerns over a new type of gum manufactured and sold by the Wrigley’s brand gum company AKA known as Mars Inc.’s Wrigleys division. The new Alert Energy Gum which possesses over 40 MG of caffeine in a single peice (equal to up to a dose of caffeine in a half of cup of coffee) has sparked the FDA to pursue an investigation on the effects of the gum on teenage youths, and young children.
The caffeine fueled energy gum, recently released this week- is available in two flavors fruit and mint. As the gum is persistently chewed the caffeine is disbursed through an individual’s saliva. So the process works as if someone has consumed a drink of a caffeinated beverage, but also through the process of chewing the gum- the caffeine is also released from the cheek, tongue and gums directly into the blood stream.
The FDA has never enabled any food to be laced with caffeine since back in the early 50′s for only soda pop beverages. Although the gum product has the added caffeine, it is hard to say if the FDA is going to allow it to stay on the market as so.
FDA commissioner Michael Taylor remarks:
“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.”
Wrigley is only the latest company to introduce caffeinated chewing gum; a number are already on the market.
According to the Alert Energy website, the gum is “an energy product for adults who consume caffeine for energy” and is not recommended for children or people sensitive to caffeine.
“Millions of Americans consume caffeine responsibly and in moderation as part of their daily routines,” Wrigley says in a statement. “Alert Energy Caffeine Gum is for adults who are looking for foods with caffeine for energy. … We are exceeding current regulatory requirements on labeling and disclosure because we believe consumers should be informed on the amount of caffeine they are consuming in their food and beverage products so they can make smart choices.
“Alert competes in the well-established energy category. It is developed for adults and will be marketed to consumers 25 and older,” the company says. “As the FDA refines its approach to caffeine, we welcome the opportunity to work with them on this important topic.”
In recent years, controversy has also swirled around energy drinks, which also contain caffeine. In November, the FDA began investigating 13 deaths preliminarily linked to the dietary supplement 5-Hour Energy.
The deaths had been reported to the FDA as “adverse events,” which does not mean that the product is responsible for or that it contributed to any health issue.
The manufacturer, packer or distributor of a dietary supplement is required to notify the FDA of any adverse events linked to its product, according to agency spokeswoman Tamara Ward. That requirement does not apply to products sold as beverages or food.