An influencer-backed energy drink that has earned viral popularity among children is facing scrutiny from lawmakers and health experts over its potentially dangerous levels of caffeine.
On Sunday, Sen. Charles Schumer called on the Food and Drug Administration to investigate PRIME, a beverage brand founded by the YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI that has become something of an obsession among the influencers’ legions of young followers.
Backed by two of YouTube’s best-known stars, PRIME was an immediate sensation when it launched last year, prompting long lines in grocery stores and reports of schoolyard resale markets.
Advertising itself as zero sugar and vegan, the neon-coloured cans are among a growing number of energy drinks with elevated levels of caffeine; in PRIME’s case, 200 milligrams per 12 ounces, equivalent to about half a dozen Coke cans or nearly two Red Bulls.
To be clear, there are two types of PRIME. One is meant for Hydration and the other for helping with energy levels.
That high content prompted bans from some schools in the United Kingdom and Australia where some pediatricians warned of possible health impacts on young children such as heart problems, anxiety, and digestive issues.
Company representatives, meanwhile, have defended the product as clearly labelled “not recommended for children under 18.” They sell a separate sports drink, known as PRIME Hydration, which contains no caffeine at all.
In Canada, it retails online for $10 per 500 ml bottle or $38.55 for five bottles, and it’s also available for purchase in some Circle K stores.