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 October 29, 2023

Family sues Panera Bread after daughter dies after consuming 'charged' lemonade

Panera Bread, a popular food chain, is under legal fire from one family that claims one of their caffeine-loaded drinks contributed to their daughter's death. 

According to The Daily Wire, the family of 21-year-old Sarah Katz, who had a heart problem, has filed suit against the company after her daughter consumed a a Panera Charged Lemonade, not knowing how much caffeine it contained.

Due to a cardiac condition known as Long QT, Katz avoided high amounts of caffeine, as it could aggravate the condition.

Her friends and family vouched for how vigilant she was about caffeine consumption.

"She was very, very vigilant about what she needed to do to keep herself safe," Victoria Conroy, a former roommate, told NBC News. "I guarantee if Sarah had known how much caffeine this was, she never would have touched it with a 10-foot pole."

Katz reportedly died just hours after consuming the beverage, as The Daily Wire noted:

On September 10, 2022, Katz ordered a Charged Lemonade with her Panera Sip Club membership, believing the drink was a traditional lemonade, the lawsuit claims. Several hours later, Katz suffered cardiac arrest at a friend’s birthday gathering; she was taken to a hospital and suffered cardiac arrest a second time, which was fatal.

Her family, in the lawsuit, claimed that the restaurant didn't do enough to warn customers that the drink was "charged" with caffeine, arguing that "charged" could also mean electrolytes.

"Defendants [Panera] knew or should have known that the Panera Charged Lemonade, as designed and formulated, once consumed, could injure children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people sensitive to caffeine — including those with underlying heart problems — by causing catastrophic injuries and/or death," the lawsuit read.

It was noted that a "charged" lemonade from the restaurant contains a staggering 390mg of caffeine, which is significantly more than most common energy drinks, sometimes by nearly double.

The drink also contains another stimulant, and high amounts of sugar.

A medical examiner's report ruled that Katz' death was caused by cardiac arrhythmia due to Long QT syndrome. It was noted that the ME didn't specifically attribute the event to the consumption of the Panera drink.

In the wake of the horrific event, Panera updated the description of the drink on its website.

"Naturally flavored, plant-based, with about as much CAFFEINE as our Dark Roast Coffee. Use in moderation. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or nursing women," the new description read, as of Saturday.

Written By:
Ryan Ledendecker

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