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FDA to investigate the effects of caffeinated chewing gum

The agency is concerned with the launch this week of a new caffeinated chewing gum from Wrigley.

Wrigley caffeinated gum 2013 03 08Enlarge
Wrigley's Alert Energy Caffeinated Gum (Wrigley/Courtesy)

Concerned by the arrival on store shelves this week of a new caffeinated chewing gum from Mars Inc. Wrigley, the US Food and Drug Administration has announced it will investigate the effects foods with added caffeine have on children.

Wrigley’s new gum, called Alert Energy, is the first widely distributed caffeinated gum. One piece contains the same amount of caffeine as half a cup of coffee or a 16-ounce soda.

More from GlobalPost: Wrigley to sell caffeinated chewing gum

“FDA is taking a fresh look at the potential impact that the totality of new and easy sources of caffeine may have on health, particularly vulnerable populations such as children and youth, and if necessary, will take appropriate action,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a statement.

While the federal regulator approved adding caffeine to colas in the 1950s, the current fad for adding caffeine to other foods is "beyond anything FDA envisioned," Taylor said.

"It is disturbing," Taylor told the Associated Press. "We're concerned about whether they have been adequately evaluated."

The FDA is also investigating caffeinated energy drinks from companies like Monster Beverage Corp. that consumers claim have caused troubling side effects and even death, Bloomberg News reported.

More from GlobalPost: Teen deaths linked to Monster Energy drinks in new report

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130430/fda-investigate-the-effects-caffeinated-chewing-