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Jim Lewis
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Caffeinated Foods May Pose New Risks

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The rise of caffeine-infused foods may pose health risks to consumers, according to the FDA. While caffeine-infused alcoholic drinks recently made headlines for their potential dangers, new foods such as caffeinated waffles and maple syrup, along with a new type of Wrigley gum, has the United States Food and Drug Administration investigating the possible detriments to health the foods may pose.

“When you start putting caffeine in these different products and forms, do we really understand the effects?” says Michael Taylor, an FDA food safety official. “Isn’t it time to pause and exercise some restraint?”

Some companies have already been doing so: a few years ago, MillerCoors LLC announced it would remove the caffeine from its Sparks alcoholic drinks, citing concern for young adults who consumed the beverage. Many other corporations still add the drug to their product lines, however; for instance, Jolt Energy Gum is infused with caffeine. Chewing a pack of the gum, according to the nutrition information, is equivalent to drinking six energy drinks.

Moderate caffeine intake has been suggested to improve mental health, but too much can be detrimental to one’s health; ingesting more than 600mg of caffeine per day can cause such reactions as nervousness, upset stomach and muscle tremors, according to the Mayo Clinic.Because consumers are unfamiliar with many of the novel new caffeinated food products, it is important to determine how much caffeine they contain, whether or not the level is safe, and what risks they may pose to those who purchase them.