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Bloomberg Business Week reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing how food and beverage products with added caffeine affect children, a move that has been prompted by a new Wrigley chewing gum, Alert Energy, with caffeine.

According to the story, the last time the FDA approved added caffeine in a food was for cola - back in the 1950's.

Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said on the agency's website, "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."

And so, Taylor said, the FDA is taking a "fresh look" at the issue and "if necessary, will take appropriate action."

Mars Inc., which owns Wrigley, said it welcomes the opportunity to work with FDA on the issue.

In its story on the subject, National Public Radio reports, "Does caffeine pose a risk to children and teenagers, aside from keeping them up past bedtime?

"The American Academy of Pediatrics says yes. In 2011, the doctors' group said that children and teenagers should never use caffeine, because it interferes with sleep, boosts heart rate, increases anxiety, and can dehydrate.

"But there's no research on the long-term effects of caffeine on children and teenagers, according to Steven Meredith, a researcher in behavioral pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine."
KC's View:
Considering how much caffeine some kids consume, between soft drinks and all the coffee drinks I see them downing at Starbucks, I think it is fair to say that it is about time that some definitive research on the subject gets conducted.