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Panera Removes Charged Lemonade From Menu After Several Lawsuits

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A picture of Panera Store
Source: Pinterest

Panera Removes Charged Lemonade From Menu After Several Lawsuits

Source: Pinterest

Many Panera lovers were thrilled by the vibrant flavors and fizzy beverages that were offered when the company initially added charged lemonade drinks to its menu. But there is a price for this.

Following reports that Panera’s lemonade may have contributed to two fatalities and serious long-term health issues in other people, a number of its consumers have filed lawsuits against the company. Due to these, fizzy drinks have been permanently withdrawn from the menu.

Panera Faces Multiple Lawsuit

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Panera has faced multiple lawsuits about its highly caffeinated and flavored drink line since launching it in 2022.

A third case, filed this year, claims the drink caused permanent heart problems. Two lawsuits, filed in October and December of 2023, claim the drink’s caffeine level caused fatal cardiac arrests.

Charged Lemonade Will Be Removed

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In the upcoming weeks, the Charged Lemonades will no longer be available. According to a Panera representative, it will be replaced by new beverages that are lower in sugar and caffeine. Some possibilities include pomegranate hibiscus tea, citrus punch, blueberry lavender lemonade, and tropical green smoothie.

Despite the controversy, Panera maintained the Charged Lemonades on the menu because, according to experts, taking the drink off the menu right away may have been interpreted as an implicit admission that there was a problem with it from the start.

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Panera Price Increase

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Panera used to be thought of as an inexpensive lunch spot where people could go while out shopping with friends or during work hours. With a range of soups, salads, and sandwiches, it’s also one of the healthiest options available among fast food franchises.

But those times when you could visit Panera and purchase a You-Pick-Two lunch for $7.99 or $6.49 are long gone. The identical dinner would cost more than $16 if you were to buy it now.

Quantity of Caffeine in the Charged Lemonade

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In the past, it was stated that a regular-sized drink contained 260 mg of caffeine, while a large drink may have up to 390 mg.

However, depending on the quantity and flavor, the beverages contain between 155 and 302 mg of caffeine. The Food and Drug Administration recommends a maximum of 400 mg of caffeine per day for adults.

An Alleged Death Case

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The parents of Sarah Katz, a late 21-year-old, filed a lawsuit against the restaurant, alleging the drink was a factor in her death. Panera’s Charged Lemonade was accused of being “unreasonably dangerous” in the complaint.

According to the lawsuit, the beverage contained 390 mg of caffeine. It may be important to remember that Katz suffered from QT syndrome type 1, which resulted in abnormal cardiac rhythms. However, the lawsuit said there was improper advertising of the lemonade.

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Another Death Case

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Dennis Brown, a 46-year-old citizen of Florida, passed away from cardiac arrest on his way home after reportedly taking three cups of Panera’s Charged Lemonade.

Brown had high blood pressure, according to a later complaint, therefore he usually sought to avoid eating energy drinks because of their high caffeine content.

Details on the Third Lawsuit

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In 2023, a third customer filed a complaint against Panera following the deaths of the first two customers and the accompanying legal actions. They have developed long-term cardiac issues as a result of consuming the charged lemonade.

The 28-year-old plaintiff filed the complaint; she was in excellent health and had never experienced any medical issues. However, after consuming two charged lemonades, she started experiencing symptoms, and cardiac issues were found after visiting a specialist.

Adding New Products

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Panera said that it will add nine new products to its menu, including bacon mac and cheese pasta, as part of its ongoing menu overhaul that started in February 2024.

“After hearing from over 30,000 customers about their preferences, we’re concentrating on offering the wide range of drinks we know our customers want, from exciting, in-vogue flavors to low-sugar and low-caffeine options,” the firm stated in a statement.

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A Warning

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To give customers more information to help them make an informed decision when making a purchase, Panera chose to put a warning label on its charged lemonades following the deaths of Katz and Brown.

The warning label advised consumers to consume the beverage only in moderation and to avoid giving it to young children, those who are sensitive to caffeine, and pregnant or nursing women.

Making Adjustments

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The adjustments coincide with Panera’s intention to reopen for business later this year.

The chain let off 300 employees, or 18% of its corporate workforce, in November 2023. According to a recent report, the chain is lowering the criteria it sets for its ingredients in an attempt to save $20 million a year.

Deceptive Marketing

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Panera’s promotion of the charged lemonades as plant-based was probably the primary factor in the decisions of all of these consumers, as well as countless more.

However, given the amount of caffeine in each drink, many people consider this deceptive advertising and have become increasingly hesitant to purchase the drinks.

Panera Awaits Date To Remove Charged Lemonade

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After deciding in January 2024 to remove the charged lemonade drinks as an extra precaution, Panera has now decided to remove all its charged lemonade drinks from its menu.

The exact date of this change is unknown. However, Panera has announced plans to make the change in response to the lawsuits.

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