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Senator calls for FDA probe into caffeinated peanut butter

By Ben Hooper

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to probe an unusual caffeine-infused product: peanut butter.

STEEM is offering peanut butter in Connecticut and Massachusetts that the company says contains the same amount of caffeine in 2 tablespoons as would be found in two cups of coffee.

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"STEEM is designed to provide a consistent release of sustained energy and the naturally slow digestion of peanut butter is the key to that. STEEM delivers protein, electrolytes and caffeine, granting you hours of endurance and focus, and freeing you from distractions like hunger and fatigue," the company said on its website.

Schumer said in a news release the "highly caffeinated peanut butter should give everyone the jitters."

The release said "unsafe" amounts of caffeine can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, and an overdose can be fatal.

"Parents across the country shouldn't have to worry about a scenario in which their child might unknowingly bite into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that contains more caffeine than two cups of coffee. The thought of super caffeinated peanut butter should give everyone the jitters because of the potential health threat it poses, especially in the hands of children and teenagers. The FDA should take immediate action and investigate whether this caffeinated food product should be pulled from shelves," Schumer said.

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STEEM officials responded to the criticism in a statement provided to Quartz.

The company said it has "complied with any and every obligation we were required to before putting our product out on shelves." The officials said the FDA is welcome to investigate their product so the government "can see that STEEM is perfectly safe when used as directed."

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