With the sudden death of Ivy League student Sarah Katz, this sparks not only backlash towards the Panera Bread food chain, but also to the prevalence of high levels of caffeine in many supplementary drinks.
With the sudden death of Ivy League student Sarah Katz, this sparks not only backlash towards the Panera Bread food chain, but also to the prevalence of high levels of caffeine in many supplementary drinks.
Photo Credit: Nicole Bianchi/Canva/Achona Online

Panera Bread lawsuit shines light on issues with caffeine consumption

This September, Sarah Katz, a junior attending the University of Pennsylvania, drove through the driveway of one of the many Panera Bread restaurants in her region and ordered a 30-ounce charged lemonade. Without entirely grasping to the events that would unfold, Katz would pass away later that day due to a cardiac arrest. 

As of now, the family of Sarah Katz has filed a lawsuit against Panera Bread, a renowned national food chain, for the death of their 21-year old daughter. The lawsuit was submitted on a Monday morning, throwing blame to the conglomerate for contributing to the death of Sarah Katz, as it was said she “had a congenital heart condition, Long QT Type 1 Syndrome, and as a result, she avoided caffeine and energy drinks.” The lawsuit also adds that Katz was “reasonably confident it was a traditional lemonade and/or electrolyte sports drink containing a reasonable amount of caffeine safe for her to drink.” 

With this charged energy drink, it is said to be more potent than a Red Bull and Monster Energy Drink combined. Supposedly, the 30-ounce drink she had taken had as much as 390 milligrams of caffeine, nearly as much or more “caffeine as our Dark Roast coffee.”

As an unfortunate death of a young college student has unfolded, the issue among energy drinks and the overpowering effect caffeine has on its young users begins to rise as well. 

Energy drinks and caffeinated beverages have long become a popular routine into the daily lives of many young users. Take for instance one of the most notable shows watched by thousands of fans worldwide: The Gilmore Girls. Since the mother character, Lorelai Girlmore, had a fixation of her supplements of coffee, Rory Gilmore started developing a similar compulsion towards her necessary intake of caffeine. The widely known Bill Nye on his Netflix show has criticized the two main characters for their sizable portions of caffeine each episode, saying, “But take a look at Lorelai and Rory … They’re actually downing 12 to 24 cups an episode. That’s up to 2,400 milligrams an hour, and over 50,000 milligrams per day — whoa! I’m feeling wired just talking about it. That’s why they talk so fast.” 

There had also been a recent development on the company Prime Hydration, LLC, a company established by Logan Paul and KSI. The two influencers and professional boxers are now having their company be under investigation by the FDA for highly disastrous levels of caffeine in their energy drinks. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has expressed his concern over the energy drink’s “unhealthy amounts of caffeine for kids and teens.” The FDA is also being called to undertake an investigation on its misleading marketing strategies as the company is stated to be “adulterated, misbranded, and illegal to sell” as the lawsuit states.

Caffeine is a highly addictive substance that should be handled with care. According to the Mayo Clinic, “400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day” would be a rather safe amount of caffeine to consume for a “healthy adult.” Though, children and young adolescents are not added into this released statement, adding onto the fact that those younger than 18 should control the amount of caffeine they intake each day, being aware of the consequences that may follow. Even through all these warnings and heeds given out to the public, how long will it be until this caffeine issue may possibly turn into a horrendous caffeine epidemic?

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