A graphic on the consumer update section of the FDA's website reads, "Caffeine. It's not just in coffee anymore. It may be in your: jelly beans, waffles, gum, water, syrup."
While coffee and tea have naturally occurring caffeine, a growing trend that has food and drink manufacturers adding the substance to their products is rattling the Food and Drug Administration. The announcement that the agency is investigating the matter came in the wake of Wrigley's promotion of its new gum - each piece contains as much caffeine as half a cup of coffee! Production of the gum in question has since been halted, due to the FDA investigation, but questions still linger.
Although it's to be expected in energy drinks, caffeine has also started to pop up in jelly beans, sunflower seeds, marshmallows, syrup, and potato chips. There's even an instant oatmeal that contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
The FDA defines 400 milligrams, the equivalent of four to five cups of coffee, a day as safe for consumption. Without paying attention, you may exceed your daily recommended limit while consuming food or drinks that you thought were caffeine free. Even though most of these products are said to be marketed to adults, they may appeal to children who are less able to handle the effects of the stimulant.
If you had a cup of decaf and are wondering why you're still wide awake in the middle of the night, check those bedtime snacks. Caveat emptor.