Panera Phases Out Charged Sips Amid Lawsuits And Health Concerns

Panera Bread is phasing out its Charged Sips caffeinated lemonade drinks nationwide amid allegations that the beverages caused two deaths and left another customer with long-term heart problems. The company confirmed the decision on Tuesday as it revamps its drink menu to include more “low-caffeine” options.

“We listened to more than 30,000 guests about what they wanted from Panera and are focusing next on the broad array of beverages we know our guests desire — ranging from exciting on-trend flavors to low-sugar and low-caffeine options,” Panera said of its recent menu changes. The company’s new beverage offerings include a “Blueberry Lavender Lemonade” among other options.

The move comes as Panera faces multiple lawsuits alleging the Charged Sips drinks which contain between 155 and 302 milligrams of caffeine caused health issues and fatalities.

Sarah Katz, a 21-year-old college student with a heart condition died in September 2022 after drinking a Charged Lemonade while Dennis Brown of Fleming Island Florida allegedly died from cardiac arrest after consuming three of the drinks.

It’s safe for most healthy adults to consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day according to The Mayo Clinic. That’s roughly equivalent to four cups of coffee or 10 cans of soda. Panera’s Charged Sips beverages come with a warning indicating they are not recommended for “children people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or nursing women.”

In the realm of boosting alertness and awakening the senses, caffeine often plays a pivotal role. However, excessive consumption of this stimulant poses well-documented risks. Panera recently faced criticism for failing to adequately disclose the high caffeine content in their beverages, potentially endangering customers. Yet, following careful evaluation and customer feedback, Panera exemplified corporate accountability by addressing and rectifying the situation — a move that many companies shy away from.