WASHINGTON (WACH/AP) -- Looking for a new way to get that jolt of caffeine energy? Food companies are betting snacks like potato chips, jelly beans and gum with a caffeinated kick could be just the answer.
The Food and Drug Administration is closely watching the marketing of these foods and wants to know more about their safety.
The FDA said Monday it will look at the foods' effects on children in response to a caffeinated gum introduced this week by Wrigley. Alert Energy Gum promises "the right energy, right now."
"The only time that FDA explicitly approved the added use of caffeine in a food was for cola and that was in the 1950s," FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor said in a release. "Today, the environment has changed. Children and adolescents may be exposed to caffeine beyond those foods in which caffeine is naturally found and beyond anything FDA envisioned when it made the determination regarding caffeine in cola. For that reason, FDA is taking a fresh look at the potential impact that the totality of new and easy sources of caffeine may have on the health of children and adolescents, and if necessary, will take appropriate action."
The agency is already investigating the safety of energy drinks and energy shots, prompted by consumer reports of illness and death.
(The Associates Press contributed to this report.)
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