Prime energy drinks — a brand developed and promoted by YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI — are being recalled in Canada.
The move comes days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was asked to open a probe into the caffeinated beverages.
In an email to Global News, a spokesperson with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the recall had been issued after a health risk assessment was conducted by Health Canada.
“As a result, it should not be sold in Canada,” Health Canada media relations advisor Andre Gagnon said in a statement to Global News.
According to the CFIA, Prime Energy is considered a supplemented food and is subject to Health Canada’s regulations. Those regulations set out that energy drinks must not contain more than 180 milligrams of caffeine in a single-serve container and require cautionary statements to protect sensitive subpopulations, including children, including information on the safe number of servings per day.
“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is aware that some stores in Canada may be selling Prime Energy without approval,” the CFIA spokesperson wrote.
Gagnon directed Global News to the CFIA for more information but said both agencies were “actively working” to address the issue of stores that may be illegally selling the product.
A single-serve container of Prime Energy contains 200 mg, the equivalent amount of a half dozen cans of Coke or nearly two Red Bulls, and exceeds the maximum allowed in Canada.
“Energy drinks containing more than 180 mg of caffeine per serving are not permitted for sale. Do not consume, serve, use, sell, or distribute these products,” the CFIA statement read.
For context, a typical cup of coffee brewed at home has approximately 120 to 180 mg of caffeine.
“When non-compliant products are identified, the CFIA takes appropriate actions, which can range from verbal and/or written notifications to warnings, detention of product, product recall, and/or prosecution,” the CFIA said.
Marvin Ryder, an associate professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the decision for the recall is necessary.
“When a product is improperly imported into the country and violates the rules, you must pull it off the shelves and destroy the product,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate thing, and sometimes the importer has not really done anything purposely wrong as by accident this has happened. But nonetheless, you can’t have any product of any kind on our shelves that violate our rules.”
Global News contacted Prime for comment on the recall, but had not heard back as of Wednesday evening.
Prime Energy’s recall comes after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday called on the U.S. FDA to launch a probe into the company’s caffeinated product, raising concern about the product being marketed to youth and the potential harm it could cause for those under 18.
The FDA told Global News on Monday it had received a letter from Schumer asking for the investigation and said it would respond directly to the senator with its decision.
While the drink does state on its label that it is not recommended for those under 18, Schumer claimed the advertising campaign targeted that age group.
“A simple search on social media for Prime will generate an eye-popping amount of sponsored content, which is advertising,” he wrote. “This content and the claims made should be investigated, along with the ingredients and the caffeine content in the Prime energy drink.”
The drink was first launched in the United Kingdom, where it was banned by some schools following concerns over health impacts. Pediatricians there warned youth who consumed it could experience heart problems, anxiety and digestive issues.
In the U.S., the FDA generally advises that about 400 mg of caffeine a day for an adult is “not generally associated with dangerous, negative effects.” However, the agency warns that people can have different sensitivities to the effects and speed at which they can metabolize caffeine.
While the FDA has not set a limit for the amount of caffeine those under the age of 18 can consume, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against caffeine consumption by youths altogether.
Health Canada advises children and adolescents under 18 keep caffeine intake to 2.5 mg per kilogram of body weight per day.
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.
While Prime Energy has been recalled in Canada, Prime’s Hydration product, which is advertised as having no caffeine at all, will remain on shelves.
— with files from The Associated Press