AP reports that the Food and Drug Administration plans to investigate the safety of caffeinated food products, as an investigation of energy drinks and energy shots is already underway. As FDA deputy commissioner of foods Michael Taylor notes, the FDA only explicitly approved caffeine additions in the 1950s for sodas. And the caffeinated food scene right now is "beyond anything FDA envisioned. It is disturbing," Taylor told AP.
Energy drinks and shots are already under investigation after reports found Monster Energy Drinks linked to five deaths. In the past, the agency has also halted the sale of alcoholic caffeinated beverages like Four Loko, saying the booze and caffeine combo could lead to people being "wide-awake drunk," which leads to alcohol poisoning, car accidents, and assaults.
As for caffeinated foods? While one serving of, say, caffeinated jelly beans won't hurt anyone, the Center for Science in the Public Interest noted in a letter to the FDA that "the concern is that it will be increasingly easy to consume caffeine throughout the day, sometimes unwittingly, as companies add caffeine to candies, nuts, snacks, and other foods." FDA is looking at the general number of caffeinated products in the market, but Michael Jacobsen, director of the Center for Science, asks, "Could caffeinated macaroni and cheese or breakfast cereal be next?" We know a couple of college kids who would be into that. We're just going to go back to coffee.