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Your Chewing-Gum Buzz Just Ended

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Wrigley has just announced that it is pulling its new caffeinated chewing gum off the market, thanks to FDA questions over potential health risks.

The April debut of Wrigley's Alert Energy Caffeine Gum spurred various groups and agencies to express concerns that its caffeine content -- 40 mg per stick, about the amount in half a cup of coffee -- might prove unsafe to some chewers, according to Food Safety News.

On April 29, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael R. Taylor released this statement: "The only time that FDA explicitly approved the added use of caffeine in a food was for cola and that was in the 1950s. Today, the environment has changed. Children and adolescents may be exposed to caffeine beyond those foods in which caffeine is naturally found and beyond anything FDA envisioned when it made the determination regarding caffeine in cola. For that reason, FDA is taking a fresh look at the potential impact that the totality of new and easy sources of caffeine may have on health, particularly vulnerable populations such as children and youth, and if necessary, will take appropriate action."

Following the announced removal of Alert from store shelves, Taylor released a new statement: "On May 8, 2013, Wrigley (a subsidiary of Mars) announced its decision to pause production, sales, and marketing of Alert Energy Caffeine Gum. This announcement was made following a series of discussions with the FDA in which the agency expressed concerns about caffeine appearing in a range of new foods and beverages. The FDA applauds Wrigley’s decision and its recognition that we need to improve understanding and, as needed, strengthen the regulatory framework governing the appropriate levels and uses of caffeine in foods and beverages. The company’s action demonstrates real leadership and commitment to the public health. We hope others in the food industry will exercise similar restraint. We look forward to working with industry, the scientific and medical community, and all interested parties to address the issues posed by added caffeine in foods and beverages."

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