Time For Panera to Rethink "Charged" Lemonade

A second person's death is now being linked to Panera Bread's "charged" lemonade, which contains copious amounts of caffeine. A 46 year-old Florida man consumed three of the beverages and died of cardiac arrest later that same day. In September 2022, a 21 year-old college student also passed away shortly after drinking the beverage. Lawsuits have been filed in both cases.


What seems to be the problem is that in both cases, neither person was aware of the high caffeine content in the drink. Both instances involved a large size Charged Lemonade, which contains a total of 390 mg of caffeine. 

The FDA suggests a daily caffeine intake limit of 400 mg. In case you are wary of government agencies, major medical institutions such as the Mayo & Cleveland Clinics and Johns Hopkins also agree with that number. To put that caffeine number into perspective, please refer to the following chart:


Getting back to Panera, perhaps the lemonade is just too charged. The company says it has taken steps to warn customers to consume the beverage in moderation, putting warnings on their website and in restaurants saying the drink is "not recommend for children, people sensitive to caffeine or pregnant or nursing women." They insist that the drink is not to blame for either death. “Based on our investigation we believe his unfortunate passing was not caused by one of the company’s products...We view this lawsuit, which was filed by the same law firm as a previous claim, to be equally without merit. Panera stands firmly by the safety of our products.”

It may be up for debate whether or not a drink which contains nearly the daily recommended intake of caffeine can be considered safe. It is literally off the above chart with 390 mg. While it may be considered legally safe, why would any company want to continue selling a beverage that may have been responsible for the untimely death of two of their customers? To continue selling it, in its current formulation, may not be the best decision going forward. How does that align with the company mission's "One Panera for a Healthier and Happier World?"

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