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Caffeinated Chewing Gum Sparks FDA Investigation

Wrigley introduced Alert Energy Caffeine Gum this week, and it has caught the attention of the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA says it will investigate the effects of added caffeine on children and teens.

The gum has 40 milligrams of caffeine, which is what you would get in half a cup of coffee. When chewed the caffeine is released into your saliva, and some gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the cheeks and under the tongue.

The only time the FDA has approved caffeine in a food was in the 1950s for cola drink.

Wrigley's, however, is not the first company to introduce the caffeinated gum. There are a number already on the market. According to Alert's website, the gum is intended for adults, and is not recommended for children.

This caffeine controversy has also been seen with energy drinks. In November, the FDA began investigating 13 deaths allegedly linked to 5-Hour Energy.

The energy shot is also mentioned in over 90 FDA filings, including more than 30 that involved serious or life-threatening events such as heart attacks and convulsions.

However, this is not the first time energy drinks have been in the spotlight for their adverse health effects. Last year, the FDA also confirmed reports that Monster Energy drink was linked to five deaths, including the death of a Maryland teenager who died from allegedly drinking cans of the energy drink on two consecutive days. An autopsy revealed the teenager died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity that exacerbated an existing heart condition.

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Source: CNN, "Caffeinated chewing gum catches FDA's eye," April 30, 2013.

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