That’s how Michael Taylor, who serves as deputy commissioner of foods for the Food and Drug Administration, described the current proliferation of caffeine that’s being added to foods.
It is pretty disturbing when you consider all the foods that are being pumped with caffeine. Candy. Nuts. Even gum.
The reason? Companies add caffeine so the food provides an energy boost to the person consuming it.
But that’s caused a growing concern, so the FDA has decided it’s time to investigate these foods’ safety.
As reported by The Associated Press, the agency’s new look at added caffeine and its effects is in response to a caffeinated gum introduced this week by Wrigley. Called Alert Energy Gum, it promises “the right energy, right now.”
Taylor said the FDA will look at the potential impact these “new and easy sources” of caffeine will have on children’s health and will take action if necessary. He pointed out that the agency will look at the added caffeine in its totality — that means that while one product might not cause adverse effects, the increasing number of caffeinated products on the market could mean more adverse health effects for children.
Many of the companies adding caffeine to their products have labeled them as being for adult use only. But critics say it’s not enough for the companies to say they are marketing the products to adults when the caffeine is added to items like candy, which is naturally attractive to children.
Even more troubling? The AP reports that major medical associations have warned that too much caffeine can be dangerous for children, who have less ability to process the stimulant than adults. Caffeine has even been linked to harmful effects on young people’s developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems.
So if steps to regulate caffeine aren’t taken, where does it end?
“Could caffeinated macaroni and cheese or breakfast cereal be next?” said Michael Jacobson, who serves as director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “One serving of any of these foods isn’t likely to harm anyone. The concern is that it will be increasingly easy to consume caffeine throughout the day, sometimes unwittingly, as companies add caffeine to candies, nuts, snacks and other foods.”
This is the second time in recent months that the use of caffeine has been an issue.
In March, more than 50 percent of voters in the Times West Virginian’s weekly online poll agreed that energy drinks should be regulated, saying children especially should never be allowed to purchase such drinks.
Those voters were responding to a question of whether the FDA should put the brakes on children being allowed to purchase energy drinks, which contain more than 200 milligrams of caffeine in just one two-ounce bottle. To put that in perspective, a regular cup of coffee has 95 milligrams of caffeine. And it’s usually not gulped in one swift drink.
The FDA is investigating the safety of energy drinks and energy shots, prompted by consumer reports of illness and death. The decision to also investigate the safety of added caffeine in food is a smart step in the right direction.
As Taylor said, the use of caffeine in foods is a disturbing trend, and one that must be examined closely.
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
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