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Wrigley pulls caffeinated gum on FDA concerns

Wrigley is pulling its new caffeinated energy gum from the market temporarily after Food and Drug Administration officials said they’re investigating the impact of a proliferation of caffeine in food and drink.

Company officials announced they would suspend production, sales and marketing of Alert Energy Caffeine Gum, which contains 40 milligrams of caffeine per piece -- about the same as half a cup of coffee. The move comes a little more than a week after the product’s April 29 launch.

FDA officials said the company agreed to halt production after discussions about the need for a regulatory framework governing the appropriate uses of caffeine in food and beverages.

“The company’s action demonstrates real leadership and commitment to the public health,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a statement.

Wrigley officials had marketed the gum to adults and said it shouldn’t be used by children or those sensitive to caffeine.

FDA’s probe follows growing concern over caffeine-containing energy drinks, which have been mentioned in connection with at least 25 deaths and 150 illnesses over several years, according to FDA reports. (The filing of a report doesn’t mean that a death or illness was attributed to the product, however.)

At the same time, other foods ranging from caffeinated water to jelly beans and popcorn have been introduced to a market aimed largely at children and teens.

Health officials, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that children limit consumption of caffeine, including caffeinated energy drinks.

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