The company, Steem Peanut Butter Inc, which claims the product "provide[s] a consistent release of sustained energy", has welcomed the scrutiny saying it has "complied with any and every obligation we [they] were required to before putting our [their] product out on shelves".
Over years, there has been a clampdown on sales and manufacture of caffeinated products such as beverages like Redbull and powdered caffeine due to caffeine's adverse health effects like rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures and even death.
In 2010, Senator Schumer, had been instrumental in the banning of caffeinated alcoholic beverages by four companies â€” Phusion Projects LLC, United Brands Co Inc, Charge Beverages Corp Inc, and New Century Brewing Co LLC â€” as well as in sending warnings to makers of pure powdered caffeine in August 2015.
With regards to the powdered caffeine products, the USFDA said on its website: "The difference between a safe amount and a toxic dose of caffeine in these pure powdered products is very small." The investigation had been welcomed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, as they had made a similar petition to the FDA.
The New York Senator, in a press release, warned about the higher amount of caffeine in the product STEEM, which stands at 150mgs per serving. The product, on the other hand, comes only with a warning on its website against its consumption by animals, which could lead to serious health issues.
"Peanut butter is a mainstay snack for children, and a product consumed in over 94% of American households. Allowing STEEM to go unchecked by the FDA could pose a danger to consumers across the board," said Schumer, adding: "It is even scarier to think about what might happen if a child unknowingly ate an entire sandwich made of caffeinated peanut butter; just one sandwich could contain more caffeine than two cups of coffee".
The product, available for $5.99 in stores in Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as online, positions itself as an alternative to food and sleep, providing energy for long hours for late-night study sessions, meetings, etc.
Inspite of the scrutiny, which the company has welcomed, the health risks associated with excessive caffeine consumption such as insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and even muscle tremors has already been established, according to the Mayo Clinic.