College student with heart condition dies after drinking Panera "charged lemonade," lawsuit says

The drink is marketed as "clean," but contains as much caffeine as an energy drink

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Food Editor

Published October 24, 2023 4:57PM (EDT)

Sign on facade at Panera Bread (Gado/Getty Images)
Sign on facade at Panera Bread (Gado/Getty Images)

According to a lawsuit filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on Monday, a 21-year-old college student with a heart condition, Sarah Katz, died after drinking a heavily-caffeinated drink from Panera; her parents assert in the suit that Katz likely thought the beverage would be safe to drink because the chain’s marketing of the product does not reflect its high caffeine content

The large size of Panera’s large Charged Lemonade, per the New York Times, has more caffeine than a 12-ounce Red Bull and a 16-ounce Monster Energy Drink combined. However, it is advertised as being “clean.” Katz had Long QT Type 1 Syndrome, a heart condition that necessitated avoiding highly caffeinated beverages.  “If she didn’t know that this was an energy drink, it makes the family concerned about who else doesn’t know,” Elizabeth Crawford, the Katz family’s attorney, told the publication. 

In a statement, Panera said it was “saddened” to learn of Katz’s death: “At Panera, we strongly believe in transparency around our ingredients. We will work quickly to thoroughly investigate this matter.”


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