Every Panera Bread restaurant is now putting warning labels on its “Charged Lemonade” following a lawsuit brought by family members of a woman who died after buying the caffeinated beverage.
Sarah Katz, 21, went into cardiac arrest hours after buying the drink, which contains more caffeine than cans of Red Bull and Monster Energy combined, the wrongful death lawsuit states.
A Panera spokesperson told NBC News that following Katz’s death, disclosures about the drink have now been added in every restaurant.
“We were saddened to learn this week about the tragic passing of Sarah Katz. While our investigation is ongoing, out of an abundance of caution, we have enhanced our existing caffeine disclosure for these beverages at our bakery-cafes, on our website and on the Panera app,” a Panera spokesperson said.
The restaurant offers three flavors of charged lemonades, and, according to its website, all of these beverages are pictured next to a bold “CONTAINS CAFFEINE” label.
In the “about” section below the product, the website states: “ââNaturally flavored, plant-based, with about as much CAFFEINE as our Dark Roast Coffee. Use in moderation. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or nursing women.”
The filing, however, states that the charged lemonade actually has 390 milligrams of caffeine, which is more than in any dark roast coffee on the company’s menu.
“I think everyone thinks lemonade is safe. And really, this isn’t lemonade at all. It’s an energy drink that has lemon flavor,” Elizabeth Crawford, a partner at Philadelphia-based law firm Kline & Specter, PC told the outlet. “It should have an adequate warning.”
The attorney said that the family wants to make people aware of the ingredients in the “charged lemonade.”
“That has become their most important thing, is making the public aware of these dangers to make sure that it doesn’t happen to someone else,” she said.
Katz, who had a heart condition called long QT syndrome type 1, avoided energy drinks, the complaint states. She died on 10 September 2022 just hours after buying the beverage.
The FDA told the outlet that it was “gathering information” about the University of Pennsylvania junior’s death.