A young woman sadly died in Philadelphia last year after consuming something potentially dangerous from… Panera Bread?!
On Monday, NBC News obtained court docs from a lawsuit filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas the same morning, a suit which alleges the eatery failed to accurately advertise just how strong their “charged lemonade” is. The suit claims the beverage contains more caffeine than cans of Redbull and Monster energy drinks COMBINED!
Holy s**t!!! WHAT?!
Sadly, on September 10, 2022, Sarah Katz, an Ivy League college student at the University of Pennsylvania purchased the “dangerous energy drink” during a lunch visit, before going into cardiac arrest and collapsing at a friends’ birthday celebration later that evening, according to the filings. Apparently, the 21-year-old suffered from a heart condition known as Long QT Syndrome type 1, which the Mayo Clinic describes as a “heart signaling disorder that can cause fast, chaotic heartbeats (arrhythmias).” Obviously a huge dose of caffeine was incredibly dangerous for her. According to the suit, Sarah avoided energy drinks, as recommended by her doctors, but made the decision to purchase the lemonade because of what her friend and roommate Victoria Rose Conroy believes to be a lack of information. She told NBC News:
“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.”
So, so sad. And understandable. We mean… it’s lemonade! From Panera! Why would anyone expect it to be so strong??
According to the Panera website, one 30oz charged lemonade contains around 390mg — just 10mg short of what the FDA cautions as potentially dangerous. That’s for folks without a heart condition!
On Monday afternoon, a Panera spokesperson addressed the tragedy with the following statement:
“We were very saddened to learn this morning about the tragic passing of Sarah Katz, and our hearts go out to her family. At Panera, we strongly believe in transparency around our ingredients. We will work quickly to thoroughly investigate this matter.”
The suit, which was filed on behalf of Sarah’s parents, claims the charged lemonade is advertised as “plant-based and clean,” which attorney Elizabeth Crawford claims to be misleading. She said in the filings:
“I think everyone thinks lemonade is safe. And really, this isn’t lemonade at all. It should have an adequate warning.”
The beverage is marketed online as “the ultimate energy drink,” according to the filings, but that’s not so in stores, says Crawford. She argues that’s a major issue in deceiving walk-in customers:
“If you’re going to market it that way and know it’s an energy drink, how can you not market it that way in the actual store? The reasonable consumer is not going to go onto the website to compare it to see whether or not there’s any additional information.”
Ugh, what a complete tragedy. We hope that the Katz family finds peace and justice through their litigation. Funds are being raised through the American Heart Association on behalf of Sarah, which you can visit HERE. Rest in peace Sarah.