An influencer-endorsed energy drink that has gained popularity among younger people is facing scrutiny from US lawmakers and health experts for its potentially dangerous levels of caffeine.
On Sunday, Senator Charles Schumer called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate PRIME, a beverage brand founded by YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI that has become popular with a following of influencers.
“One of the most popular summer status symbols for kids isn’t an outfit or a toy, it’s a drink,” said Schumer, D-N.Y. “But the consumer and parents should be careful because it is a serious health concern for the children that is so fervently targeted.”.
Backed by two of YouTube’s most well-known stars, PRIME was an immediate sensation when it launched last year, prompting long lines at stores and even reselling in schoolyards.
Billing itself as zero sugar and vegan, the neon-colored cans are among a growing number of high-caffeine energy drinks; in the case of PRIME, 200 milligrams per 12 ounces, equivalent to half a dozen cans of Coca-Cola or nearly two Red Bulls.
That high content led to bans in some schools in the UK and Australia, where some pediatricians warned of possible health impacts on children, such as heart problems, anxiety and digestive problems.
Company representatives say the product label clearly states that “Not recommended for children under 18 years of age” and contains a level of caffeine comparable to other competitors.
“As a brand, our top priority is consumer safety, so we are open to discussions with the FDA or any other organization regarding suggested industry changes they deem necessary to protect consumers,” the company said. spokeswoman Alyx Sealy in a statement.
In his letter to the FDA, Schumer claimed that there is little difference in the marketing of the two beverages, leading many parents to believe that they were buying a juice for their children, only to end up with a “cauldron of caffeine”.
“A simple search for Prime on social media will generate a surprising amount of sponsored content, which is advertising,” the congressman wrote. “This content and the claims made should be investigated, along with the ingredients and caffeine content in Prime Energy Drink.”