Lawmaker Wants FDA To Look Into Safety Of Caffeinated Peanut Butter

It was only a matter of time: as regulators keep an eye keenly focused on how powders, boozy energy drinks and other products that contain caffeine are marketed, one lawmaker is pushing the Food and Drug Administration to look closely at a newcomer, caffeinated peanut butter.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York is calling for the FDA to investigate the safety of a peanut butter spread sold by a company called Steem that promises to deliver the same dose of caffeine in two tablespoons that two cups of coffee would provide.

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that can cause adverse symptoms like increased heart rate and blood pressure, Schumer says, adding that an overdose can be fatal.

“Parents across the country shouldn’t have to worry about a scenario in which their child might unknowingly bite into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that contains more caffeine than two cups of coffee,” Schumer a press release. “The thought of super caffeinated peanut butter should give everyone the jitters because of the potential health threat it poses, especially in the hands of children and teenagers. The FDA should take immediate action and investigate whether this caffeinated food product should be pulled from shelves.”

Steem said in a statement (via Quartz) that it welcomes federal oversight, and that it has “complied with any and every obligation we were required to before putting our product out on shelves.”

It also added that the peanut butter is safe when “used as directed,” which includes keeping it away from pets.

If the FDA takes action, it wouldn’t be the first time the agency has stepped in to keep caffeinated products off the shelves: in 2013, Wrigley pulled its caffeinated gum “Alert Energy” from store shelves after the FDA voiced concerns.

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