The family of Sarah Katz, a college student, has filed a heartbreaking lawsuit against Panera Bread following her untimely death at the age of 21 from drinking “Charged Lemonade.” According to the complaint, this beverage has more caffeine than even the combined amounts of well-known energy beverages like Red Bull and Monster. It is said that Katz, who already had a cardiac issue, was not aware of the beverage’s high caffeine concentration.
Panera Bread is accused of marketing the Charged Lemonade as a “dangerous energy drink” and failing to adequately warn customers about its contents, according to a lawsuit filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Doctors had urged Katz, a University of Pennsylvania student, to avoid energy drinks in order to manage her long QT syndrome type 1 cardiac disease.
On September 10, 2022, Katz bought the Charged Lemonade from a Panera Bread location in Philadelphia. Sadly, she passed away from cardiac arrest a few hours after drinking the beverage. Victoria Rose Conroy, Katz’s flatmate and close friend, highlighted her health-consciousness by saying that she would never have drunk the drink if she had known it included caffeine.
According to the lawsuit, the large Charged Lemonade included 390 milligrammes of caffeine, which is higher than any size of Panera’s dark roast coffee. This claim is supported by the nutrition facts on Panera’s website. It also contained the equivalent of over thirty tablespoons of sugar and guarana extract, another stimulant. Significantly, the 390 milligrammes of caffeine were more than the total amount of caffeine found in regular Red Bull and Monster energy drink cans. It was alleged that Katz had bought the huge 30-ounce cup.
The Charged Lemonade, according to Elizabeth Crawford, a partner at Kline & Spectre, PC, tastes more like an energy drink with lemon flavour than a conventional lemonade. She stressed that items with such high caffeine content should have the appropriate warning label.
The Charged Lemonade, according to the lawsuit, is “defective in design because it is a dangerous energy drink.” It raises questions about why these unregulated beverages don’t come with warnings about possible negative effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and brain function.
Sarah Katz was well-known for her remarkable scholastic accomplishments and commitment to volunteerism. She was an Ivy League student who had worked as a research assistant at a children’s hospital and taught CPR in underprivileged areas. Conroy spoke of Katz’s will to overcome her health issues and accomplish her objectives, calling her the most engaged and enthusiastic person she had ever encountered.
With regular medical visits and medication, Katz’s congenital long QT syndrome was usually well-managed, and all test results were normal. With differing degrees of symptom severity, this cardiac ailment affects around 1 in 2,000 persons. Experts in medicine believe that long QT individuals can normally use coffee in moderation. Energy drinks with a lot of caffeine, however, may come with added hazards, according to some research.
Sarah Katz passed very suddenly a few hours after buying the Charged Lemonade, while celebrating her birthday with friends at a restaurant. While being revived by emergency responders, she unfortunately suffered another heart arrest, which ultimately resulted in her death. The cause of death, according to a medical examiner’s report, was cardiac arrhythmia caused by long QT syndrome; the beverage was not mentioned as a contributing factor.
Panera Bread sent their sympathies to Katz’s family and assured them that the situation will be thoroughly investigated. The case is a sad reminder of how crucial it is for the food and beverage sector to be transparent and to properly identify its goods, especially when those products include potentially dangerous substances.