The release date in December of Prime, a drinks brand founded by YouTube personality and boxer Logan Paul, had British teenagers queuing up outside grocery stores for hours. Some supermarkets were also forced to limit purchases 1 bottle per customer,
Now, Prime is facing criticism from physicians and lawmakers, who say the high levels of caffeine in one of its drinks could be harmful to children. At a press conference in New York on Sunday, Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, called on the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the ultra-caffeinated variety of Prime, which he pointed out has caffeine levels roughly equivalent to six 12-ounce cans. Is equal. Coca-Cola’s.
Prime offers two types of beverages: Prime Hydration, a sports drink that does not contain caffeine, and Prime Energy, a highly caffeinated drink. A 12-ounce can of Prime Energy contains 200 milligrams of caffeine, compared to 114 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce can of Red Bull, or 100 milligrams in a cup of coffee. Pediatricians recommend that children under the age of 12 avoid caffeine altogether and that 12 to 18-year-olds consume no more than 100 milligrams per day.
Senator Schumer said that Prime Energy has “so much caffeine it puts Red Bull to shame.” He said Prime is different from other highly caffeinated energy drinks because its advertising campaign targets people under the age of 18.
Mr Paul, a high-profile provocateur known for his controversial videos, has long faced questions over the example he sets for young people. They have won two Teen Choice Awards, which are decided primarily by voters aged 13 to 19, and when followed by their loyal fans, known as logangs, they are often young people. become He launched Prime in 2022 with Olajide Olayinka Williams Olatunji, a 30-year-old rapper and another prominent YouTube personality, better known by his online alias, KSI.
In a letter to FDA chief Dr. Robert Califf on Monday, Senator Schumer urged the agency to investigate the beverage company.
“Many physicians have serious concerns about Prime, and I specifically urge your agency to investigate Prime’s claims, marketing, and caffeine content,” Senator Schumer wrote.
Prime said in a statement to the New York Times that each can of its energy drink “clearly states” that it is not intended for anyone under the age of 18. The company said that the level of caffeine in the drink was comparable to that of other best-selling energy drinks. The drink and prime conformed to FDA guidelines.
The official response comes as major US beverage companies compete for a share of the fast-growing market for energy drinks. Over the past five years, sales in the energy drink industry have grown from $12 billion to $19 billion, according to market research firm Circana. More recently, companies such as Pepsi and Gatorade have invested in new caffeinated beverage lines, and shares of Monster Energy, another caffeinated beverage, have risen 30 percent in the past year. Experts say this enthusiasm has been fueled in part by decades of shunning sweetened sodas.
Senator Schumer said at a Sunday news conference that parents had brought Prime to his attention. But energy drinks are only part of a growing field of high-caffeine beverages popular among youth on TikTok. These beverages include Alani Nu, a brand backed by social media influencer Addison Rae, and Celsius, backed by Pepsi.
Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, a pediatrician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital who joined Senator Schumer at Sunday’s press conference, wrote in an email to The Times that regular consumption of the caffeine found in Prime Energy Doing so can disrupt the sleep cycle. Which is essential for the developing brain of the child.
He added that high caffeine intake can make consumers jittery and lead to digestive problems, headaches, heart palpitations and even abnormal heart rhythms.
Mr. Paul rose to fame as a popular YouTube personality and has since ventured into other fields like acting and boxing.
Representatives for Mr. Paul did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Prime representative said in a statement that it was “very important” to distinguish between the two drinks on the market, one of which – Prime Hydration – was also hugely popular among young consumers and did not contain any caffeine.
A Principal representative said, “We welcome discussions with the FDA on needed industry changes to protect consumers”.
But Dr Bracho-Sanchez said the way the companies were marketing the two beverages – with flashy packaging and social media blitzes aimed at young consumers – had made them difficult to separate. The “Energy” branding was also misleading, he said.
“It is not true energy. It’s not a nutritious meal followed by a good night’s sleep, it’s a caffeine overdose and then a crash.”