Bay Area Paneras add warning sign to ‘Charged Lemonade’

FILE – Panera Bread in Walnut Creek on March 7, 2022. A new lawsuit has been filed against Panera Bread following the death of a woman who consumed “Charged Lemonade.”  

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The parents of a woman who died after drinking one of Panera Bread’s so-called Charged Lemonades are suing the national restaurant chain, alleging that the highly caffeinated drink is “unreasonably dangerous.” 

On Monday, Jill and Michael Katz filed a lawsuit on behalf of their deceased daughter Sarah, 21, who died of cardiac arrest in September 2022 after consuming a Charged Lemonade. Katz had a heart condition that made her sensitive to caffeine, and she knew not to drink energy drinks, the lawsuit says. The filing argues that the Panera beverage is “defective in design because it is a dangerous energy drink,” and that Panera did not sufficiently warn customers of any potential side effects or “life-threatening effects on blood pressure, heart rate, and/or brain function” that the Charged Lemonade might have.

Panera offers three different Charged Lemonade flavors and does say that its 20 fluid-ounce drinks have about 260 milligrams of caffeine, while its larger, 30 fluid-ounce drinks carry about 390 milligrams of caffeine. The FDA recommends that healthy adults not consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day (which equates to about four or five cups of coffee). 

In a statement shared with SFGATE, a Panera spokesperson said that the company was saddened to learn of Sarah’s passing and added, “… we strongly believe in transparency around our ingredients. We will work quickly to thoroughly investigate this matter.” The company did not provide further details or share any steps it plans to take following the lawsuit and death.


Article continues below this ad

At the Walnut Creek Panera store, SFGATE saw warning signs posted directly under the self-serve Charged Lemonade machines and on the counter that read, “Contains CAFFEINE – Consume in Moderation. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or nursing women.”

Michelle Navarro, the manager at the Walnut Creek store, could not confirm what date the signs were added but said they were new to the store. An additional two Panera stores in Concord feature the same warning signs, as viewed by SFGATE. But it’s also unclear when those stores added their warnings.

“Even before the unfortunate incident, I like to tell customers, especially if they have children with them, that these drinks have a lot of caffeine in them,” Navarro told SFGATE. “It clearly states it on … the self-serve drinks, but I still like to let people know.”


Article continues below this ad

A new lawsuit has been filed against Panera Bread following the death of a woman who consumed "charged lemonade." New warning signs appear at the Walnut Creek store. 

A new lawsuit has been filed against Panera Bread following the death of a woman who consumed “charged lemonade.” New warning signs appear at the Walnut Creek store. 

Jessica Yadegaran

Katz was a college student at the University of Pennsylvania and bought a Charged Lemonade at a Philadelphia Panera store in September 2022. She thought the beverage had a “reasonable amount of caffeine safe for her to drink,” the lawsuit states, because of the way the company branded it, including using words like “plant-based,” “clean” and “charged,” the latter of which they argue is similar to the lightning-bolt imagery of caffeine-free Gatorade beverages that Katz drank without incident.

The lawsuit further claims that Panera is responsible for Katz’s passing because store employees are tasked with “mixing unsafe ingredients at certain concentrations.” While the company only indicates in-store that the drink is comparably caffeinated to its Dark Roast coffee, information on Panera’s website shows the Charged Lemonade is caffeinated with green coffee and guarana extracts – ingredients classified as “stimulants” by the CDC, according to the lawsuit. It also has high amounts of sugar.

“Knowing this, before and during the marketing and sale of the Panera Charged Lemonade, Defendants knew or should have known that proper quality control for manufacturing and/or mixing the product was crucial to consumer safety, and that permitting their employees to mix the product could result in an increased risk of causing permanent and catastrophic injuries to consumers – especially children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and caffeine-sensitive individuals (e.g., those with underlying heart problems),” the lawsuit states.


Article continues below this ad

Both the company and the Philadelphia Panera store where Sarah Katz bought the drink are listed defendants in the case, filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.

Reports this week said that the FDA has since gotten involved, but the agency could not confirm with SFGATE if it was investigating the Charged Lemonade drink at Panera. In a statement, the agency said that it “takes seriously reports of illnesses or injury from regulated products” and added, “The agency monitors the marketplace of FDA-regulated products and takes action when necessary.”

SFGATE food editor Jessica Yadegaran contributed to this report. 


Article continues below this ad


Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Swift Telecast is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a Comment