The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday, it is launching an investigation into the safety of caffeine in food products, particularly its effects on children.
Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, says the FDA is concerned about the “range of foods that contain caffeine.”
The latest entry on the FDA’s radar is a Wrigley Gum product Taylor says is like “having four cups of coffee in your pocket.”
According to the FDA, caffeine is being added to jelly beans, marshmallows, sunflower seeds and other snacks “for its stimulant effect.”
“The gum is just one more unfortunate example of the trend to add caffeine to food, Taylor said.
The food lineup with caffeine enhancement has moved to the breakfast arena, too. An instant oatmeal on the market claims to have as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
The FDA has been tracking similar breakfast items with so-called "wired" waffle and "wired" syrup enhanced with “added caffeine.”
“The proliferation of these products in the marketplace is very disturbing to us,” Taylor said.
For healthy adults the FDA has cited 400 milligrams a day -- that's about four or five cups of coffee, as an acceptable intake.
But the agency has not set a level for children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the consumption of caffeine and other stimulants by children and adolescents