OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — A caffeinated energy drink being promoted by American social media influencers is set to be recalled in Canada.
Health Canada said Wednesday that at 200 milligram of caffeine per can, Prime Energy exceeds the regulator’s acceptable caffeine limit of 180 milligram per serving and should not be sold.
On Sunday, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer called on the Food and Drug Administration to investigate PRIME, a beverage brand founded by the YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI that has become something of an obsession among the influencers’ legions of young followers.
Health Canada said it’s aware that some shops may be selling Prime Energy — which is different from the widely available Prime Hydration drink — without approval.
It said caffeinated energy drinks are considered supplemented food and are therefore regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Both agencies are working to address the issue, Health Canada said in an email.
Prime Hydration is the non-caffeinated and bottled version of the canned beverage Prime Energy. They are among multiple other brands of energy drinks popular among children and teens.
Backed by two of YouTube’s best known stars, PRIME was an immediate sensation when it launched last year, prompting long lines.
Advertising itself as zero sugar and vegan, the neon-colored cans are among a growing number of energy drinks with elevated levels of caffeine; in PRIME’s case, 200 milligrams per 12 ounces, equivalent to about half a dozen Coke cans or nearly two Red Bulls. in grocery stores and reports of school yard resale markets.
Health Canada recommends a maximum of 2.5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight for youth up to age 18. By comparison, a can of Coke has 34 milligrams of caffeine, six times less than the amount in a serving of Prime Energy.
That high content prompted bans from some schools in the United Kingdom and Australia where some pediatricians warned of possible health effects on young children such as heart problems, anxiety and digestive issues.
The FDA said in a statement Monday that it was reviewing Schumer’s letter and would respond to the senator directly.
A company representative said their energy drink, which comes with a warning label that it is “not recommended for children under 18,” contains a comparable level of caffeine to other competitors.