Parents Say Their Young Daughter Died From a 'Energy Drink' Served at Panera

There seem to be two camps when it comes to energy drinks: those who drink them without a care in the world and those who avoid them like the plague.

There has been plenty of research to back up claims that they're unhealthy, but still, many choose to drink them. According to her parents, a 21-year-old woman apparently died from consuming one from the popular chain restaurant Panera.

The drink, which Panera calls their "Charged Lemonade," reportedly contains high  levels of sugar and caffeine, which the parents claim caused their daughter, who suffers from cardiac issues, to die.

They have since launched a lawsuit against Panera, claiming the company failed to warn customers of the dangers associated with this beverage.

From Huffinton Post:

The parents of Sarah Katz said Panera’s Charged Lemonade, which the restaurant chain describes online as its “ultimate energy drink,” is “unreasonably dangerous,” alleging that the company has failed to warn customers of its high levels of caffeine and sugar.

“Defendants [Panera] knew or should have known that the Panera Charged Lemonade, as designed and formulated, once consumed, could injure children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people sensitive to caffeine — including those with underlying heart problems — by causing catastrophic injuries and/or death,” the lawsuit says.

Katz was diagnosed at the age of 5 with Long QT, a condition that the American Heart Association says can cause potentially life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms, according to the lawsuit.

Katz, who also worked to raise awareness about heart conditions as a Red Cap Ambassador for the AHA, avoided highly caffeinated drinks, including energy drinks, because of her diagnosis, according to the suit.

However, in September 2022, Katz purchased a Charged Lemonade from the restaurant in her apartment building with her Panera Sip Club membership, thinking it was a traditional lemonade, the lawsuit says.

Katz, after drinking the lemonade, reportedly suffered cardiac arrest and was taken to a hospital where she went into another cardiac arrest.

The lawsuit accuses Panera of defective warnings, stating that the store did not market the beverage as an energy drink but instead advertised it as “plant-based and clean,” with as much caffeine as the restaurant’s dark roast coffee. But Panera’s coffee does not contain sugar or other ingredients, the lawsuit noted.

The lawsuit also claims that the Charged Lemonade is “defectively manufactured” because in-house Panera workers mix unsafe ingredients at uncertain concentrations to make the drink.

The Food and Drug Administration considers as much as 400 milligrams of caffeine a day safe, depending on an individual’s sensitivity. According to Panera’s website, a regular Charged Lemonade contains 260 milligrams of caffeine and the large size has 390 milligrams of caffeine.

It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit shakes out; if it goes in the parents' favor, this could spell big trouble for Panera.

While it's tragic that this young lady lost her  life, in all fairness, the drink is advertised as an energy drink with caffeine, and a simple look at the nutrition label would show the high amount of sugar in the drink.

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