The energy drink Prime, supported by INFLUENCER, has been criticized for its potentially dangerous caffeine content.
The colorfully packaged drink, which is being distributed by YouTube stars KSI and Logan Paul, contains 200mg per 355ml – the equivalent of around two cans of Red Bull or six cans of Coke.
Senior Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct an investigation.
He claims the drinks are being marketed directly to children as “one of the hottest drinks of the summer” but pose “serious” health risks.
At a news conference in New York on Sunday, he said, “This stuff called Prime has a staggering caffeine content at just 12 ounces and it scares parents and doctors alike in the kids who are targeted.”
“Prime emerged from the roles of social media and the enigmatic world of influencers.
“Kids see it on their phones while they’re scrolling, and then they actually have a need for it.”
“And the problem with that is that the product has so much caffeine that it puts Red Bull to shame.”
“Parents should be on their guard as it poses a serious health concern for the children it is so feverishly targeting.”
dr Edith R. Bracho-Sanchez, a pediatrician at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, added that high amounts of caffeine can cause headaches, jitters, anxiety, nervousness and sleep problems in children.
“I think it’s no secret and you don’t need a doctor to tell you that these drinks give you a boost,” she said.
“They stimulate you, but they don’t give you energy.
“That’s not good sleep followed by a nutritious meal.
“This drink triggers a caffeine rush. It’s a high followed by a crash.”
Prime Energy’s official website advertises it as “not recommended for children under 18, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or individuals sensitive to caffeine.”
And the brand insists that consumer safety is its “top priority,” pointing out that it sells a separate sports drink that contains no caffeine at all.
However, in his letter to the FDA, Schumer claimed that there was little discernible difference in how the two drinks were marketed online.
He said the two products were packaged and advertised “in near-identical fashion,” leading many parents to believe they’d buy a juice for their kids only to end up with a “cauldron full of caffeine.”
Prime contains so much caffeine that it puts Red Bull to shame.
Schumer said, “The FDA needs to investigate Prime for its absurd caffeine content and child-targeted social media marketing.”
Prime was launched in 2022 by YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul.
It started with bottles of a coconut water-based “hydration” drink, but has since expanded to include five flavors of energy drinks.
These are Strawberry Watermelon, Blue Raspberry, Tropical Punch, Orange Mango, and Lemon Lime.
Its high caffeine content led to school bans in the UK and Australia, where some doctors warned of possible side effects including heart problems, anxiety and digestive problems.
It was almost impossible to get cans and supermarkets sold out in record time.
Last year ministers in the UK vowed to ban the sale of energy drinks to anyone under the age of 16, but there are currently no legal age restrictions.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 12 should not consume caffeine, while children ages 12 to 18 should limit their intake to less than 100 mg per day.
A Prime spokesman said, “Prime has two beverages on the market, PRIME Hydration and PRIME Energy.”
“It is very important to distinguish between the two products as they are very different.
“We launched PRIME last year with the launch of Hydration, a healthier alternative to sports drinks that comes in a bottle.
“PRIME Energy, which is sold in cans, was launched in 2023 and contains a comparable amount of caffeine to other top-selling energy drinks, all of which are within legal limits in the countries in which they are sold.”
“It met all FDA guidelines before it was released, and the packaging and marketing materials clearly state that this is an energy drink and not suitable for persons under the age of 18.”
“As a brand, consumer safety is our top priority. As such, we welcome discussions with the FDA or other organizations about proposed changes in the industry that they believe are necessary to protect consumers.”
The caffeine content of popular energy drinks
- Prime Energy – 200 mg (355 ml can)
- Red Bull – 80mg (250ml)
- Monsters – 160mg (473ml)
- No. – 160 mg (473 ml)
- Burn – 112 mg (354 ml)
- Rock Star – 300mg (473ml)
- Lucozade – 46mg (380ml)
- Coca Cola Original – 32mg (330ml)