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Panera Pulling Controversial Charged Lemonades From Some Stores

The drinks have disappeared from the self-serve stations at several locations, reports say.

Over the past few months, no beverages have been mired in backlash quite like Panera Bread's Charged Lemonades. The chain is currently facing not just one, but three lawsuits blaming the caffeinated beverages for customer deaths and health issues—and reports indicate that Panera is now taking action to limit access to the controversial drinks.

Editors from Nation's Restaurant News (NRN) recently noticed that the Charged Lemonades were no longer available in the self-serve area at a Panera location in Louisville, Ky., the publication reported on Jan. 23. As it turns out, NRN's editors aren't the only ones who've noticed the absence of the Charged Lemonades at Panera's self-serve stations.

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People Magazine also reported this week that several Panera locations were no longer offering Charged Lemonades in the self-serve areas. According to the publication, a sign posted at those locations read: "Looking for Charged Sips? You can pick up your order on the Rapid Pick-Up shelf or at the pick-up counter. Ask an associate if you need help locating your drink."

This new policy forces Panera customers to rely on employees to fetch the caffeinated drinks for them instead of serving themselves. The chain did not immediately respond to our queries for confirmation and comment on the change.

Panera Charged Lemonades
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The development came just a week after Lauren Skerritt, a 28-year-old Rhode Island occupational therapist, sued Panera over alleged negative health effects from the drinks.

In the lawsuit, which was first reported by NBC News, Skerritt alleged that she started experiencing heart palpitations right after drinking the beverages last April. She was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat at the emergency room and has dealt with heart problems ever since then, forcing her to take medication and negatively impacting her ability to work, exercise, and socialize, the lawsuit said.

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Panera was hit with similar lawsuits in October and December 2023 after two other customers—21-year-old Sarah Katz and 46-year-old Dennis Brown—allegedly died from cardiac arrest after drinking the caffeinated beverages. While Skerritt had no underlying medical conditions before drinking the lemonades, according to her lawsuit, both Katz and Brown had underlying heart conditions and those who knew them said they typically avoided energy drinks. 

Panera released statements expressing sympathy for the deaths, but has stood by the safety of its products and said the lawsuits brought by Katz's and Brown's families were without merit, per NBC News. Still, after the lawsuit over Katz's death was filed in October, Panera added warnings in its stores and on its website, advising customers to consume the caffeinated drinks in moderation. The warnings also said the beverages weren't recommended for children, people sensitive to caffeine, nursing women, and those who are pregnant.

Panera currently offers three flavors in its Charged beverage line: Strawberry Lemon Mint, Mango Yuzu Citrus, and zero sugar Blood Orange. The Mayo Clinic says that most healthy adults can consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day. Large (30-ounce) sizes of Panera's Charged drinks contain between 210 and 236 mg depending on the flavor, according to the Panera website.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe
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