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Time magazine recently published a little scare piece on the spread of caffeine beyond its tidy boundaries in coffee and soda pop and into the wide wide world of food products and other delivery mechanisms:
In the past five years, according to the market research giant Mintel, firms have launched at least 126 caffeinated food products for sale in the U.S. Twenty-nine such products have been introduced this year alone. The offerings include things like Morning Spark oatmeal, NRG potato chips and — my favorite, if only for the brazen attempt to draw kids into caffeine culture — Jelly Belly's Extreme Sport Beans, which the company calls "Energizing Jelly Beans." You can also now buy caffeinated toiletries like Bath Buzz Caffeinated Lotion.
Of course, none of these are labeled with the amount of caffeine included (not that Starbucks is busy labeling its beverages either), and worse, children wouldn't be reading those labels anyway:
The larger problem with the new caffeinated inventions is that their labels don't typically disclose how much caffeine they contain. And yet some of them are crammed with the drug: Sumseeds, a brand of caffeinated sunflower seeds, contain 120 mg of caffeine per packet, 16% more than in a typical 6-oz. serving of coffee. Shower Shock soap is designed to deliver a crackling 200 mg of caffeine when lathered into the skin, twice the amount in that same cup of coffee....
Doctors recommend that prepubescent kids not have any caffeine, and yet caffeinated candies and gums and chips have strong appeal for kids. Earlier this year, four middle-school boys in Broward County, Fla., had to go to the hospital after drinking energy drinks. The boys were sweating so much that school officials thought they might be having heart attacks.
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