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Eye-Level Drink Lineup[49][90][15].jpg Panera
Is Panera getting ready to take the drinks off the menu?

Panera Bread removes its controversial Charged Lemonades from self-serve area of some stores

A Louisville, Ky. Panera Bread store is no longer allowing guests to pour their own Charged Sips drinks after two allegedly related deaths and three lawsuits

Is Panera Bread taking steps to mitigate the backlash against its Charged Lemonade products? In the aftermath of three separate lawsuits that all alleged the brand’s caffeinated lemonade was the cause of two deaths and one woman’s long-term heart health issues, some Panera stores have been removing the controversial drinks from the self-serve area.

NRN editors spotted that the Charged Lemonade product was no longer available at the self-serve drink area at a Louisville, Ky. Panera store. The same store also added a warning about the amount of caffeine in the beverages to its kiosks, which stated in bold capital letters that the drinks are not recommended for children, people sensitive to caffeine, or pregnant or nursing women.

This observation appears to corroborate a similar story from People Magazine, noting that multiple Panera stores have removed the beverage from the self-service beverage fountains. “Looking for Charged Sips? You can pick up your order on the Rapid Pick-Up shelf or at the pick-up counter. Ask an associate if you need help locating your drink," a sign at the counter reads.

Panera did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication. The company has also not commented on the latest lawsuit filed last week by a young woman who has no prior health issues and allegedly is suffering from ongoing heart problems after drinking two and a half Charged Lemonades last April.  

Panera’s caffeinated lemonade beverages were released last spring around the same time as the expansion of the Unlimited Sip Club subscription program. Originally called Lemonade Chargers, this beverage was advertised as an alternative to coffee, and comes in flavors like Fuji apple cranberry and mango yuzu. A large portion of the Charged Lemonade mango flavor contains 390 mg of caffeine – or nearly 3.5 12-ounce Red Bull energy drinks — which is just shy of the 400 mg maximum dosage of caffeine that you can safely drink in a day, according to the FDA.

The other two similar lawsuits against the bakery-café chain were filed after two people, both with underlying heart conditions, suffered fatal cardiac arrests last year in unrelated incidents allegedly after consuming the beverages without knowing how much caffeine they contained.

Since the first lawsuit was filed, Panera updated all in-store disclosures about the high caffeine levels of the drink. All three lawsuits recalled incidents from before signage was updated. Following the first two lawsuits, Panera maintained its innocence, saying that both lawsuits were without merit and “Panera stands firmly by the safety of our products.” The company has made no public response to the controversy since then.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

TAGS: Fast Casual
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