Wrigley Stops Production of Caffeine Gum

Before it has a chance to fly off the shelves, Wrigley has decided to stop production, sales and marketing of their new caffeinated gum. The company's decision comes after meetings with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The government agency shared its concerns about the possible effects of caffeinated gum on children and adolescents.

Alert Energy Caffeine Gum was introduced into the marketplace less than a month ago. One piece contains 40 milligrams of caffeine, about the same amount that's typically in a half-cup of coffee.

The gum was available in 2 flavors: mint and fruit. Once someone starts chewing the gum, caffeine is released into the saliva. Some of it is swallowed and some goes directly into the bloodstream through the cheeks or from under the tongue.

"The FDA applauds Wrigley's decision and its recognition that we need to improve understanding and, as needed, strengthen the regulatory framework governing the appropriate levels and uses of caffeine in foods and beverages," said Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. "The company's action demonstrates real leadership and commitment to the public health. We hope others in the food industry will exercise similar restraint."

Wrigley released its own statement about why they made their decision.

"When Wrigley launched Alert Energy Caffeine Gum, we took great strides to ensure that the product was formulated, distributed and marketed in a safe and responsible way to consumers 25 years old and over," Wrigley President Casey Keller said. "After discussions with the FDA, we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation's food supply. 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."

Caffeine seems to be the new marketing chemical of choice for just about anything you can put in your mouth. While Wrigley has made the decision to stop production of its caffeinated gum, other brands are still on the market.

In recent years, energy drinks have come under scrutiny by the FDA because of the high levels of caffeine in those products. Many health experts are calling for these drinks to be clearly labeled and health warnings to be added to labels.

Source: Saundra Young,  http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/08/health/wrigley-caffeine-gum-production/index.html

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