Cracker Jacks popcorn snack will soon be available with a dose of caffeine.
Frito-Lay is set to introduce their new version of the 105-year-old snack called Cracker Jack'D, the latest energy-inducing crunchy snack with some flavors that contain caffeine.
Consumer watchdog, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is crying foul and has sent a letter to the U.S. health officials protesting the use of caffeine in the popcorn snack, claiming that the product "could lead to serious health problems for children who consume" the new sweet snack.
The CSPI says that the latest trend of adding caffeine to everything from water to jelly beans is a dangerous precedent that could seriously damage the health of young people.
The consumer group said that the FDA considers additive caffeine safe for soda-like beverage if it contains only 0.02 percent, but has no such safety standards for snacks and other products.
"Unless the FDA begins enforcing its regulations, I fear that we'll see caffeine being added to ever-more improbable drinks and snacks, putting children, unsuspecting pregnant women, and others at risk," CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson said in a written statement. "How soon before we have caffeinated burgers, burritos, or breakfast cereals?"
Frito-Lay on the other hand has gone on the defensive, saying that their new product is not for kids.
"Cracker Jack'D is a product line specifically developed for adult consumers and will not be marketed to children," spokesperson Chris Kuechenmeister told The Boston Globe in an email. "The package design and appearance are wholly different from Cracker Jack to ensure there is no confusion among consumers."
However, CSPI said that's not enough, saying that products like Kraft's caffeinated water "booster" MiO, Jelly Belly's 'Extreme Sports Beans' and Cracker Jack'D are still likely to land in the hands of children, even if these caffeinated products aren't the producer's intended target.
It is unclear how much caffeine is contained in the new Cracker Jack'D product, but the product labeling suggests that a serving has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
Jacobson pleaded with the FDA to take a stand on caffeinated foods.
"Whether or not they are advertised directly to children, it is certain that young children will consume Cracker Jack'D ... and sometimes consume it to excess," Jacobson wrote executives at Frito-Lay and parent company PepsiCo.
The CSPI said that while both MiO Energy and Cracker Jack'D have fine print labeling on their products stating that the products are inappropriate for children, the labels are still not enough to prevent children from consuming them.
FDA spokesperson Carla Daniels told CBS News in an email that it is aware of CSPI's concerns.
The latest controversy comes after the recent news of the dangers of caffeinated energy drinks like 5-Hour Energy and Monster energy drink,
The New York Times recently reported that since 2009, 5-Hour Energy has been named in some 90 FDA filings, including more than 30 that involved life-threatening events like heart attacks, convulsions and, in one case, a spontaneous abortion.
In October, the FDA also released reports that linked the deaths of five people and one non-fatal heart attack to the popular energy drink Monster after a 14-year-old girl allegedly died after drinking two Monster energy drinks.
Published by Medicaldaily.com