SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) - Food companies are finding unexpected places for your caffeine. And it could be harmful for your kids.
A cup of coffee isn't the only thing that can give you a jolt of energy. Food companies are now adding caffeine to candy and gum.
"I think they are targeting the kids. It sounds like to me. The sugar is already an addiction, and now they are introducing the caffeine and it's not ok with me," said Nancy Dorian of Florence.
Federal food regulators plan to start monitoring the advertising of these products; saying they don't know what kind of effect it could have on kids.
Mount Holyoke Biological Sciences Professor Sarah Bacon told 22News caffeine can do more than raise your alertness.
"Caffeine has effects beyond that. It affects how water is processed by the kidney. It affects the transmission of signals between the nervous system and muscles, so some people get a jitteriness or a twitchiness," said Bacon inside her Carr laboratory on Tuesday.
Wrigley is one of the companies putting caffeine into gum. A Wrigley spokeswoman said the products are labeled "For Adults Only," and that the amount of caffeine in each piece totals half a cup of coffee.
"If people are consuming it from a lot of different sources, and they don't know how much there is in the product they are consuming, it could be hazardous," said Bacon. "If some of the products are being consumed by children that's another concern, because we don't know they would affect children's physiology the same way," Bacon said.
Critics say the crackdown is just government butting in on your personal lifestyle choices. Meanwhile others say regulators are looking in the wrong place.
"Caffeine wouldn't be a major concern. I'd like to see salt a sugar be more regulated than caffeine. Because salt and sugar results more long term health problems," said Michael Lee of Easthampton.
The only time the FDA approved the added use of caffeine was in the 1950s and it was for cola.