The death of Sarah Katz has prompted an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On September 10, 2022, Sarah Katz, a 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania student, suffered cardiac arrest after drinking Panera Bread’s ‘Charged Lemonade’ beverage. Sarah had been diagnosed with a heart condition, Long QT Type 1 Syndrome, meaning she was vulnerable to the effects of caffeine.
Panera Bread advertises the energy drink-like beverage as a “plant-based” and “clean” juice, but fails to declare the total amount of caffeine in each serving on the product’s label. The lawsuit filed by the Katz family states that a 30-ounce serving of Charged Lemonade contains 390 milligrams of caffeine, much more than the combined caffeine levels of a Red Bull and Monster Energy Drink.
In the wake of the incident, Panera Bread has released a statement expressing sorrow for the tragedy and promising to investigate the matter. The FDA has also opened an inquiry into the product. The agency claims to take such reports of injury or illness from regulated products seriously, and has indicated it will collaborate with the Federal Trade Commission to determine if any marketing claims made by Panera Bread regarding the Charged Lemonade are misleading or false.
At this time, it is uncertain if the drink played a direct role in sacrificing Sarah Katz’s life. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the case demonstrates the importance of carefully understanding the ingredients, nutrition, and potential health implications of what we consume. Consumers should be aware and take necessary precautions to protect their health, especially when it comes to food and drinks with high levels of caffeine.
Ultimately, it is up to the companies that produce the product to provide an accurate and complete description that includes all ingredients, caffeine content, and potential health risks when applicable. Sarah’s death serves as a harsh reminder of the damage that can be done when safety and health regulations are not met.