University of Pennsylvania student Sarah Katz died of cardiac arrest on Sept. 10, 2022, several hours after buying Panera’s Charged Lemonade from a location in Philadelphia, according to a legal filing reported on by NBC.

That day, Katz bought Panera’s Charged Lemonade several hours before going to a friend’s birthday party at a restaurant in her apartment building. At the restaurant, Katz collapsed, and emergency personnel rushed her to the hospital, where “she had another arrest and was pronounced dead,” per a lawsuit field by her parents.

Katz was diagnosed with Long QT syndrome Type 1 at 5 years old when she experienced a seizure during a swimming lesson, per SADS. Long QT sydrome type 1 is the most common heart rhythm disorder, and is “manageable and responsive to medication in most cases,” the lawsuit says.

Katz’s roommate and friend Victoria Rose Conroy told NBC, “She was very, very vigilant about what she needed to do to keep herself safe. I guarantee if Sarah had known how much caffeine this was, she never would have touched it with a 10-foot pole.”

The Panera Charged Lemonade size Katz ordered has 390 milligrams of caffeine, more than three times the amount in a 12-ounce can of Red Bull, according to the reports.

Her parents, Jill and Michael Katz, filed a lawsuit on Oct. 23 against Panera, claiming the company’s Charged Lemonade is a “dangerous energy drink.”

The lawsuit also claims, “Consumers are not provided a factual basis for understanding it (Charged Lemonade) is an energy drink containing exorbitant amounts of caffeine, caffeine sources, stimulants, and sugar.”

Elizabeth Crawford, a partner at the Philadelphia-based law firm Kline & Specter, PC, commented on how the company’s drink is potentially misleading.

She said, “I think everyone thinks lemonade is safe. And really, this isn’t lemonade at all. It’s an energy drink that has lemon flavor. It should have an adequate warning,” per NBC.

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The lawsuit continues, “These unregulated beverages include no warning of any potentially dangerous effects, even the life-threatening effects on blood pressure, heart rate, and/or brain function.”

On Oct. 23, a Panera spokesperson told CNN in a statement, “We were very saddened to learn this morning about the tragic passing of Sarah Katz, and our hearts go out to her family.”

The statement continued, “At Panera, we strongly believe in transparency around our ingredients. We will work quickly to thoroughly investigate this matter.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told CBS that it was looking into the situation. The FDA said, “The agency monitors the marketplace of FDA-regulated products and takes action as appropriate, including collaborating with the Federal Trade Commission regarding marketing claims.”

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