(HorizonPost.com) – The family of a 21-year-old college student with a heart condition who died hours after drinking Charged Lemonade, an energy drink from Panera Bread, is suing the company claiming that the beverage is a “dangerous energy drink” and arguing that Panera did not adequately warn its customers about the ingredients, NBC News reported.
The complaint was filed Monday in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by the parents of Sarah Katz, a University of Pennsylvania student who had been a research assistant at a children’s hospital. Katz suffered from QT syndrome type-1, a heart condition, and was instructed by her doctors to avoid energy drinks.
According to the complaint, a cup of Charged Lemonade contains more caffeine than a can of Red Bull and a can of Monster combined.
Katz purchased the drink from a Philadelphia Panera Bread restaurant on September 10, 2022. Within hours of drinking the beverage, she went into cardiac arrest, according to her roommate Victoria Rose Conroy.
Conroy said Sarah was “very vigilant” about her heart condition and if she had known how much caffeine was in the beverage, she would not have consumed it.
According to the complaint, the beverage is “offered side-by-side” with Panera’s less caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks and is advertised as a “plant-based and clean” drink that contains as much caffeine as Panera’s dark roast coffee.
However, a large Charged Lemonade has 390 milligrams of caffeine which is more than the dark roast coffee, according to the complaint. The beverage also contains another stimulant called guarana extract and the equivalent of almost 30 teaspoons of sugar.
The family claims in the suit that the beverage is “defective in design because it is a dangerous energy drink.”
In a statement on Monday, a spokesperson for Panera Bread expressed sadness over learning of Katz’s passing, saying the company only learned of her death Monday morning. The spokesperson said Panera believes in transparency in its ingredients and “will work quickly to thoroughly investigate this matter.”
The medical examiner’s report at the time of Katz’s death lists the cause as cardiac arrhythmia brought on by long QT syndrome. The medical examiner did not mention Charged Lemonade as a contributing factor in Katz’s death.
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