According to the AP, Wrigley made the decision to halt sales of Alert Energy after conferring with the FDA, which is looking into the health effects of added caffeine on children and adolescents.
“After discussions with the FDA, we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation’s food supply,” the company explained to the AP. “There is a need for changes in the regulatory framework to better guide the consumers and the industry about the appropriate level and use of caffeinated products.”
The FDA’s deputy commissioner of foods commended Wrigley’s decision, saying it “demonstrates real leadership and commitment to the public health… We hope others in the food industry will exercise similar restraint.”
One stick of Alert Energy contains the same amount of caffeine as one half-cup of coffee. Wrigley has maintained that it markets the products only to adults, but some argue that it’s impossible to market gum solely to adults, because… well, kids like gum.
Caffeine-added food items have come under increased scrutiny recently, especially after reports of thousands of hospital visits — and a handful of deaths — linked to overuse and misuse of energy drinks.