In recent times, a growing number of college students seeking a caffeine boost have turned to charged lemonades, which pack roughly 390 mg of caffeine, just 10 mg shy of the FDA’s daily recommended maximum of 400 mg. Last year a tragic incident involving Sarah Katz, an Ivy League student with a pre-existing heart condition, brought to light the potential risks associated with these highly caffeinated drinks. Katz passed away from cardiac arrest shortly after consuming a large serving of Panera’s Charged Lemonade.
Katz’s parents have decided to file a lawsuit against Panera, claiming that the lemonade contributed to their daughter’s untimely death. Katz, who was attending the University of Pennsylvania, suffered from Long QT Type 1 Syndrome, a heart condition that made it necessary for her to avoid caffeine and energy drinks.
Panera’s Charged Lemonade can contain as much as the 390 mg of caffeine mentioned above, a substantial 114 mg more than what a 12-ounce can of Red Bull typically contains. Panera’s official website advertises the drink with “260 mg of caffeine.”
Katz experienced cardiac arrest while still at the restaurant. She was quickly transported to Pennsylvania Presbyterian Hospital, where she entered cardiac arrest a second time before tragically passing away.
Like Katz, many individuals assumed that Panera’s Charged Lemonades were no different from regular lemonade or lemonade with added electrolytes. In response to the incident, a Panera spokesperson told CNN, “At Panera, we place a strong emphasis on transparency regarding our ingredients. We are committed to conducting a thorough investigation into this matter and will do so promptly.”