Caffeine-heavy Prime energy drink raises concern for US kids
While Prime Hydration was caffeine-free, one can of the recently introduced Prime Energy has 200 milligrams of caffeine in a single can.
A popular new soft drink that has been gaining popularity since it was introduced by well-known YouTube personalities is causing concern in the United States due to its extraordinarily high caffeine content for children.
Prime was actually founded in 2022, by American Logan Paul and British KSI, two prominent YouTubers whose bizarre and even contentious videos are devoured by audiences predominately made up of children.
Prime Hydration, the first beverage, was caffeine-free. But this year, Prime Energy, a new line, was introduced.
200 milligrams of caffeine are present in a single can, which is significantly more than the 30 or 80 mg found in a can of Coca-Cola or Red Bull, respectively.
In a debut video, the two internet celebrities were seen playing table tennis and video games extremely slowly at first, then rapidly after consuming the beverage.
Since then, a lot of TikTok videos have shown kids joyfully waving the iconic bottles while a musical soundtrack proclaims, "We got Prime, boys!"
However, health professionals caution against caffeine consumption in young children.
The American Academy for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) recommends against the chemical's use in children under the age of twelve.
Between the ages of 12 and 18, a daily limit of 100 milligrams, or about half a can of Prime Energy, is advised.
According to the AACAP, too much coffee can make a child vomit, experience high blood pressure, or have issues with their heart rhythm in addition to agitation, anxiety, and headaches. Perhaps some kids are more sensitive than others.
Last week, top Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said that Prime "has one true target market: children under the age of 18, and that is why I am sounding the alarm."
Prime Energy is available in varieties like raspberry-melon and orange-mango that may appeal to younger children.
According to the Senate majority leader, the drink contains "eye-popping levels of caffeine for a child’s body."
In a statement, he said that it is fashionable because "it is born from the reels of social media and the enigmatic world of influencers."
In a letter to the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Schumer demanded an investigation into the amount of caffeine in the beverage and the marketing approach used.
This week, the FDA said that it is "reviewing the concerns" brought up by the senator and will get back to him immediately.
In a statement, an FDA spokesperson said they encourage "caregivers and families to read a product's label before giving the product to their child."
Though the warning may not be evident to everyone, the can does have a subtle line stating that the beverage is not advised for individuals under the age of 18.
The FDA said that adults can typically drink up to 400 mg of caffeine per day without experiencing any negative effects, or four to five cups of coffee. The FDA has previously issued warnings against various companies marketing both alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.
Prime is 'being targeted' by the United States government
In a video uploaded to social media on Thursday, Paul offered a partial response to the debate.
He said he was insulted by media reports that Canada had recalled Prime Energy cans, even though the measure was merely taken to stop illegal imports since the beverage is not sold there.
"Prime formulas are complying with each specific country's regulatory bodies," he said.
"Actually it doesn't surprise me that we're being targeted by massive corporate conglomerates and the United States government," he said, claiming that this beverage is "eating the market shares of the biggest companies on the planet!"
The US grocery shelves are packed with a variety of brands since the energy drink sector is booming and increasing.
Paul had previously stated in an interview that Prime sold $250 million worth of products in its first year of business.