Panera Bread will stop selling its highly caffeinated fruit-flavored drinks, which were the subject of lawsuits by people who said the drinks had caused health problems, including two deaths.

The drinks, known as Charged Lemonade and Charged Sips, will be removed from the menu, a source familiar with the decision said on Tuesday.

A regular size of the Charged drinks, which come in three flavors, has at least 155 milligrams of caffeine, while the large sizes have at least 233 milligrams, according to Panera’s website.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, most “healthy adults” can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, or about four or five cups of regular coffee, depending on the brand and roast.

In response to a question from The New York Times asking if the Charged drinks were being discontinued, Panera Bread provided a statement about its “menu transformation.”

After surveying more than 30,000 customers, the statement said, the company was “focusing next on the broad array of beverages we know our guests desire,” including low-caffeine options.

It was not clear when the Charged drinks would be removed from the menu.

The Charged Lemonade attracted widespread attention and media coverage after a video was posted in December 2022 on TikTok by a user who said that she routinely drank the beverage but was shocked to learn how much caffeine it contained.

In the past year, several lawsuits have been filed against Panera by people who said that the caffeinated drinks caused their loved ones’ deaths or personal health problems.

The parents of a college student with a heart condition said in a lawsuit filed in October that their daughter, Sarah Katz, 21, died the same day that she drank Panera’s Charged Lemonade in Philadelphia in September 2022.

Dennis Brown, 46, died in October 2023 after suffering a “cardiac event” while walking home from a Panera Bread in Fleming Island, Fla., after drinking three servings of Charged Lemonade, according to a lawsuit filed in December by his mother, sister and brother.

After the lawsuit was filed by Mr. Brown’s family, Panera said it stood by the safety of its products.

source

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