Many companies, including well-known brands like Wrigley's, Kraft, and PepsiCo, have started adding caffeine to a variety of food products such as potato chips, waffles, and marshmallows. These products are becoming increasingly popular (U.S. sales reached $1.6 billion in 2012 alone), but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is beginning to raise questions about the products' safety.
Officials worry that the products' manufacturers are attempting to make money off of consumers' energy craze that began with highly caffeinated energy drinks, but others are saying that caffeinated food products are just a new form of caffeine delivery comparable to drinking coffee. In response, the FDA is insisting that there must be more investigation done on the effects of caffeine on the body. The agency has requested that companies temporarily stop manufacturing caffeinated foods until studies have been done to test the products' safety.
The FDA plans to focus its investigations on caffeine's effect on children out of concern that young people are attracted to the caffeinated products, which generally are targeted at adults over 25. Adults can safely consume about 400 milligrams of caffeine (about 4-5 cups of coffee) a day, but there isn't a set level for children. Pediatricians worry that any caffeine consumption at a young age will have negative effects on development.
Despite differing views on the safety of caffeinated food products, there is some agreement over the products' labeling. Many are recommending that all products should be required to have their caffeine amount listed on their labels. Currently, labels must state if a product contains caffeine, but there is no policy requiring companies to list the exact amount of caffeine it contains.
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