The launch of Prime, a beverage brand founded by YouTube personality and boxer Logan Paul, had British teens lining up for hours outside grocery stores on its December release date. Some supermarkets have even had to limit purchases One bottle per customer.
Now, Prime is facing backlash from doctors and lawmakers who say the high levels of caffeine in one of its drinks could be harmful to kids. At a news conference in New York on Sunday, Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer called on the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the highly caffeinated batch Prime, which he noted had caffeine levels equivalent to about six 12-ounce cans. coca cola.
Prime offers two types of drinks: Prime Hydration, which is a sports drink without caffeine, and Prime Energy, which is a high-caffeine drink. A 12-ounce serving of Prime Energy contains 200 milligrams of caffeine, compared to the 114 milligrams of caffeine found in a 12-ounce can of Red Bull or the 100 milligrams found in a cup of coffee. Pediatricians advise children under the age of 12 to avoid caffeine completely, and children ages 12 to 18 should consume no more than 100 milligrams per day.
Senator Schumer said Prime Energy has “so much caffeine it puts Red Bull to shame.” He added that Prime differs from other high-caffeinated energy drinks in that its advertising campaign appears to target those under the age of 18.
Mr. Paul, a high-profile agitator known for his controversial videos, has long faced questions about the example he sets for young people. He’s won two Teen Choice Awards, primarily decided by voters between the ages of 13 and 19, and when he’s pursued by his loyal fans, known as Logang, they often skew the youth. Prime launched in 2022 with Olajide Olayinka Williams Olatunji, a 30-year-old rapper and other prominent YouTube personality known by his online alias, KSI.
In a letter to Dr. Robert Califf, the head of the Food and Drug Administration, on Monday, Senator Schumer urged the agency to investigate the beverage company.
“Many physicians have grave concerns about Prime, and I am writing to specifically urge your agency to investigate Prime for its claims, marketing and caffeine content,” Senator Schumer wrote.
Prime said in a statement to The New York Times that every can of its energy drink “clearly states” that it was not made for anyone under the age of 18. The company added that the drink contains levels of caffeine comparable to other best-selling energy. Beverages and Prime were in compliance with FDA guidelines.
The official response comes as America’s major beverage companies battle for a piece of the fast-growing energy drink market. Over the past five years, sales in the energy drink industry have jumped from $12 billion to $19 billion, according to market research firm Circana. Recently, companies like Pepsi and Gatorade have invested in new lines of caffeinated beverages, and shares of Monster Energy, another caffeinated beverage, are up 30 percent in the past year. Experts say the excitement is partly driven by decades away from sugary soft drinks.
Senator Schumer said at a news conference Sunday that parents have brought Prime to his attention. But the energy drink is part of a growing field of highly caffeinated beverages that are popular with young adults on TikTok. These include the Alani Nu brand backed by social media influencer Addison Rae, and Celsius backed by Pepsi.
Regularly consuming as much caffeine as found in Prime Energy can disrupt the sleep cycle, which is something Necessary for a child’s brain development.
She added that high consumption of caffeine can cause anxiety for consumers and cause digestive problems, headaches, heart palpitations and even arrhythmias.
Mr. Paul rose to fame as a popular YouTube personality, and has since ventured into other fields such as 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 wildly popular with younger consumers and contains no caffeine.
The prime minister’s representative added, “We welcome discussions with the Food and Drug Administration” about the industry changes needed to protect consumers.
But Dr Bracho-Sanchez said the way the two companies marketed the drinks — with flashy packaging and a social media campaign that pushed younger consumers — made it hard to tell them apart. She added that the “energy” branding is also misleading.
“This is not real energy. This is not a good night’s sleep followed by a nutritious meal, this is a caffeine rush followed by a crash.”