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Student Run School News Website

Viper Times

Student Run School News Website

Viper Times

Family Sues Panera After the Death of Their Daughter

Caleb Balos
A graphic of Panera’s charged lemonade, sold in their stores across the nation.

A 21-year-old Ivy League student, Sarah Katz died from a large charged lemonade at Panera Bread in September of 2022. Why is it back in the news if it happened over a year ago? The reason for this is that her parents are now trying to sue Panera Bread for failing to warn her and other consumers of the very high amounts of caffeine this specific drink has.

The charged lemonade at Panera Bread contains 390 milligrams of caffeine, which almost exceeds the maximum daily intake of 400 milligrams of caffeine according to the FDA. The charged lemonades are a combination of Redbull and Monster, with how high the caffeine number sitting at 390 milligrams.

This all occurred on September 10, 2022, when Sarah Katz decided to go to her local Panera Bread and order one large charged lemonade. She consumed the drink and just a few hours later, she died from cardiac arrest in her dorm.

It is said that Sarah knew she had a heart condition called long QT syndrome, she was diagnosed at 5 and was able to control it with medication and regular visits to the doctor. Long QT syndrome is a heart condition in which the heart’s electrical system causes abnormal heart rhythms due to exercise or stress.

According to the Metropolitain Cardvasicular Consaltants, LLC caffeine raises one’s heart rate because of the release of noradrenaline and norepinephrine, among other things will cause a person’s heart rate and blood pressure to increase. When Sarah consumed a large amount of caffeine in a short amount of time her heart rate probably increased so rapidly that it made her heart go into cardiac arrest.

On Panera’s website, there is a disclaimer regarding their charged lemonades and who shouldn’t drink them due to the high caffeine amount in each one. It clearly states online that it has an extreme amount of caffeine and should not be consumed by children, pregnant women, and people with medical problems. In-store there are listed caffeine amounts by the charged lemonades on their menus.

There should have been no way for Sarah Katz to be unaware of the amount of caffeine she had consumed from the large charged lemonade she ordered. Panera Bread clearly states online and in person that the specific drink was not to be consumed by specific individuals due to the high caffeine content. She was also very aware of her heart condition, so it is not like she was unaware of that too.

According to her family and doctor, she avoided energy drinks based on her doctor’s recommendation. A spokesperson from Panera Bread stated “ 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.”

She was a brilliant girl but she made a careless mistake by consuming this drink, this could’ve been prevented had she looked more into the drink or gotten a different one when she went to her local Panera Bread. Her story will for sure change people’s opinions on the safety of energy drinks and caffeine.

Her roommate and close friend stated “ She was very, very vigilant about what she needed to keep herself safe,” She also stated, “ I guarantee if Sarah had known how much caffeine this was, she never would have touched it with a 10-foot pole.”

This horrible incident could’ve been prevented, her parents suing Panera Bread for the death of their daughter a year later isn’t right. We understand that her parents are still grieving the loss of their 21-year-old daughter but Panera Bread should not be the blame for this incident as they did everything in their power to make it a hundred percent clear that this drink could be dangerous.

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