PENNSYLVANIA (WTAJ) — Panera is facing a lawsuit after a University of Pennsylvania student allegedly died after drinking their Charged Lemonade.
According to CBS News, On Sept. 22, 2022, a University of Pennsylvania student drank the Charged Lemonade that is offered at Panera and then suffered cardiac arrest, leading to her death.
The lawsuit claims that Sarah Katz, 21, believed the lemonade was a “traditional lemonade and/or electrolyte sports drink containing a reasonable amount of caffeine safe for her to drink.” Katz had been diagnosed with the heart condition Long QT Type 1 Syndrome, which caused her to avoid energy and heavily caffeinated drinks.
According to the lawsuit, these types of drinks could “adversely affect the heart’s rhythm” for people with a heart condition.
The lawsuit claims that Panera allegedly failed to inform consumers about the caffeine levels in its Charged Lemonade. The drink is advertised as “plant-based and clean with as much caffeine as our dark roast coffee.”
“We were very saddened to learn this morning about the tragic passing of Sarah Katz, and our hearts go out to her family,” a Panera spokesperson said in a statement issued Monday in response to the lawsuit. “At Panera, we strongly believe in transparency around our ingredients. We will work quickly to thoroughly investigate this matter.”
On their website, Panera claims that a 20-ounce serving of their Blood Orange Charged Lemonade has 245 mg of caffeine. The other two flavors listed on their website have 260 mg for a 20-ounce serving.
The lawsuit claims that a 30-ounce serving of Charged Lemonade can contain up to 390 mg of caffeine, which is more than Red Bull and Monster Energy Drink combined. It is cited that those drinks combined would equal about 274 mg of caffeine.
“Consumers are not provided a factual basis for understanding it is an energy drink containing exorbitant amounts of caffeine, caffeine sources, stimulants and sugar,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to the lawsuit, Panera should have known that the Charged Lemonades posed a threat of injury or death to some consumers because of the highly caffeinated contents. Children, pregnant or breastfeeding women and caffeine-sensitive individuals, like Katz, were listed as consumers that could face harm.
All of the information above, including quotes, came from CBS News.