Is A Warning Label Really Enough For Panera's Caffeinated Lemonade?

Panera's Charged Lemonades
Panera's Charged Lemonades - Smith Collection/gado/Getty Images

Although Panera Bread has clung to its reputation of being a "cleaner" version of fast food, some of its menu items have still proven to be potentially harmful to customers' health. In fact, shortly after Panera released its Charged Lemonade, TikTokers started warning others about the dangers associated with this drink — particularly its caffeine content.

According to Panera Bread's website, its Charged Lemonades are "plant-based," and contain as much "clean caffeine" as the chain's dark roast coffee. That being said, a 30-ounce cup of any Charged Lemonade flavor contains 390 milligrams of caffeine, which rides the FDA's line delineating safe daily caffeine intake. For comparison, 30 ounces of Red Bull contain about 286 mg, while 30 ounces of Monster contain about 301 mg.

Interestingly, despite the high levels of caffeine in these drinks, Charged Lemonades are included in Panera's Unlimited Sips Club. In other words, you can refill as many times as you'd like, which would be one thing if customers were presented with all relevant information and could make an informed decision. However, it's another thing entirely when people might not even be aware that they're filling up with an energy drink.

Read more: The Healthiest Fast Food Chains In The U.S.

Panera's Updating Its Charged Lemonade Marketing A Little Too Late

Panera Bread's Charged Lemonades
Panera Bread's Charged Lemonades - Panera Bread/Facebook

In late 2022, a young Ivy League student named Sarah Katz purchased a Charged Lemonade from Panera without knowing the drink's caffeine content. This ultimately triggered her heart condition and sent her into cardiac arrest. Following Katz's death, her loved ones insisted that she wouldn't have chosen the beverage if she knew it was as caffeinated as an energy drink.

Unfortunately, not until Katz's family opened a lawsuit against Panera did the chain take measures to inform customers about its Charged Lemonades. Panera Bread's website now includes a statement urging customers to consume Charged Lemonades "in moderation" and to avoid the drinks entirely if "sensitive to caffeine" or pregnant. The beverages are also listed as containing caffeine, though it remains unclear if Panera has provided customers information regarding FDA recommendations on daily limits. While it's certainly an improvement that Panera has added what's essentially a warning label to its Charged Lemonades, those labels mean very little if they aren't accompanied by context.

Read the original article on Mashed.