The student run newspaper of Poolesville High School

The Poolesville Pulse

The student run newspaper of Poolesville High School

The Poolesville Pulse

The student run newspaper of Poolesville High School

The Poolesville Pulse

Panera Charged Lemonade blamed for second fatality

Justine Bagasbas

Introduced in 2022, Panera’s caffeinated lemonade has been a popular choice of beverage among customers. Unfortunately, as of Oct. 2023, the drink is suspected to be linked to two deaths. Now in Dec., the popular restaurant is under fire and subject of two wrongful death lawsuits in relation to their Charged Lemonade.

The first incident occurred in Sept. of 2022, when UPenn student Sarah Katz, 21, went into cardiac arrest after drinking the Charged Lemonade. Katz had a heart condition and avoided energy drinks at the recommendation of doctors. According to NBC News, her close friends and family assert that she was very vigilant and likely would not have consumed the drink if she knew about the caffeine content. 

The second incident involved Dennis Brown, 46, in Oct. of 2023. Brown had high blood pressure and therefore also avoided energy drinks. It is unclear whether or not Brown was aware of the caffeine content of the Charged Lemonade, but on his way home he suffered a cardiac arrest that took his life. 

These two events have brought into question the clarity of Panera’s marketing in regards to the drink.

Senior Milla Brizhik has consumed the drink in the past, but remarks that the labeling in-store has room to improve.

“I only know [how caffeinated the drink is] because I’ve heard things on the internet,” Brizhik said.

Since the Charged Lemonade is served next to the other low or non-caffeinated self serve drinks, some have voiced that a beverage with such high caffeine content should be labeled in a way that is unmistakably clear. According to the Food and Drug Administration, a healthy adult can safely consume around 400mg of caffeine per day- approximately the same amount as one large cup of Panera’s Charged Lemonade. When refills are taken into account, many will surpass this threshold in just one meal at Panera.

In light of these recent tragedies, senior Angelique Thomas who has never tried the drink has decided that the beverage and its potentially dangerously high caffeine content is not worth the risk.

“I’m not willing to put my life on the line for a Charged Lemonade,” Thomas said. “The caffeine levels are alarming enough to make me not want to consume it.”

Despite all of this, Panera maintains that their Charged Lemonade is safe and unrelated to either of the deaths. Families of both victims filed individual lawsuits after each incident.

“We view this [second] lawsuit… to be equally without merit,” a Panera Spokesperson told USA TODAY . “Panera stands firmly by the safety of our products.”

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About the Contributors
Maya Kozauer
Maya Kozauer, Staff Writer
 Maya Kozauer is a senior in the Independent Studies Program. Her favorite song is “Style” by Taylor Swift and one fun fact about her is that she has a leopard gecko named Spotty!
Justine Bagasbas
Justine Bagasbas, Copy Editor
Justine Bagasbas is asenior in the Humanities program. Her favorite song is “Sugarcoat” by KISS OF LIFE and one fun fact about her is that she went on ten different planes this summer!

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