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The North Star Online

The official news site of J.W. North High School

The North Star Online

Panera faces lawsuits because of their ‘Charged Lemonade’ drink

The New Charged Lemonade at Panera Bread.

   Panera is now facing its third lawsuit by an athlete who experienced health issues because of their ‘Charged Lemonade’ drink. So far, two people have died after drinking this lemonade, suffering cardiac arrest after drinking the beverage.

Lauren Skerritt is the athlete who is suing Panera for their dangerous Charged Lemonade. She was physically active before drinking the lemonade. She decided to order a Charged Lemonade because it was labeled as “plant-based” and “clean”, which is what she wrote about in her complaint. She suffered three episodes of palpitations after consuming the drink. Her heart rate reached 180 bpm to 190 bpm, and she continued to have several episodes of a rapid heartbeat (The Boston Globe).

Lauren continues to suffer because of the drink and now has permanent heart problems.

Although it doesn’t seem like it, this lemonade is filled with caffeine. Panera’s 30-ounce Charged Lemonade has around 390 milligrams of caffeine (USAToday). A few sources claim that Panera advertised as caffeinated while others say that it wasn’t. Because of their poor advertising, it has greatly misled customers. This is a large amount of caffeine, and it is more than what is in an energy drink. It is recommended by the Food and Drug Administration that people should not have any more than 400 milligrams of caffeine in a day (Forbes).

Sarah Katz, a junior attending UPenn, bought Panera’s Charged Lemonade on September 10, 2022. A couple of hours after she drank the 30-ounce Charged Lemonade, she died of cardiac arrest. Katz was diagnosed with long QT syndrome type 1, a heart condition. Her doctors recommended that she should avoid drinking energy drinks (The Daily Pennsylvanian).

According to WSB Radio, Victoria Conray, a roommate of Sarah, reveals a few facts about her, saying, “She was very vigilant to avoid caffeine. She never drank coffee. She never drank Red Bull. Panera was not properly advertising this if someone as smart and vigilant as Sarah [was unaware of it].”

 However, Panera’s Charged Lemonade was sold as a beverage that had as much caffeine as its dark roast coffee. This is misinformation because the Charged Lemonade has so much more caffeine than their dark roast coffee.

The second person to die because of the Charged Lemonade was Dennis Brown, a 46-year-old man. Like Sarah, he experienced cardiac arrest. But Brown drank three Charged Lemonades (a single lemonade being around 210 milligrams of caffeine), meaning he drank around 630 milligrams of caffeine, an extremely unhealthy amount. Brown did have a chromosomal deficiency disorder, developmental delay, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] and high blood pressure. Because he had several health issues, he did not consume energy drinks and avoided them like Sarah Katz.

An attorney who represented both the plaintiffs in two lawsuits against Panera shared with NBC News, “This is a vulnerable population that I think the community at large should help protect. And I feel like Panera failed to do that for Dennis.”

Overall, Panera is being sued for misleading customers with their Charged Lemonade. Despite the name, the Charged Lemonade seems like a normal caffeinated beverage due to the drink being improperly labeled as “plant-based” and clean. To several customers, Panera’s menu did not let their customers know the amount of caffeine in their Charged Lemonade.

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Sonia Acedo-Lopez, Reporter

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