The FDA Investigates Caffeine in Snacks

Snacks like popcorn, candy and gum are being infused with caffeine. Is it safe for kids?
1:54 | 04/30/13

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Transcript for The FDA Investigates Caffeine in Snacks
And for a nation of people starved for energy, news tonight about a jolt of caffeine with, say, your popcorn. A new food group getting reaction from federal experts. Normal snacks like popcorn, candy, even gum, infused with caffeine. David kerley shows us why some people are wary. Reporter: They promise to double your pleasure, but now wrigley wants to give you a kick of caffeine. Alert -- a new chewing gum. One piece equals a half cup of coffee. Just the latest food product with added caffeine. A bag of cracker jack treats, equal to a cup of coffee. Jelly belly sports beans -- a half cup. And how about biofuel popcorn? Caffeine infused. Why are companies doing this? The food industry is always searching around for unoccupied niches. Adding caffeine to a snack food. They advertise it keeps you alert. Reporter: It used to be just our morning coffee or tea, or a cola, that gave us that pick-me-up buzz. But the success of energy drinks is now spreading the sprinkling of caffeine. It's the total lack of control by some safety agency that's really of concern. Reporter: But tonight, the food and drug administration is jumping in, saying it has only approved added caffeine "for COLA AND THAT WAS IN THE 1950s," Adding it's worried "children and adolescents may be exposed to caffeine." So it is "taking a fresh look" at these new sources of caffeine. Experts we talked to say children should have as little caffeine as possible. It's too easy for them to get and eat, they can overconsume it, resulting in things like heart palpitations. Reporter: Food makers say these products are only marketed to adults. But some of these foods appear as candy, and could be enticing to youngsters. So the government says, if it needs to take action, it will. David kerley, abc news, washington.

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