At the conclusion of her 10-year-old son’s soccer match, Jennifer Temple handed the kid $5 for a drink.
He came back with a bottle of PRIME hydration, made by the same brand that produces PRIME energy – the drink promoted by influencer-turned-wrestler Logan Paul and YouTuber KSI that Sen. Chuck Schumer is now demanding the FDA investigate.
The energy drink has a whopping 200 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce can — an 8.4 ounce can of Red Bull has 80 mg.
Schumer said: “Buyer and parents beware, because it’s a serious health concern for the kids it so feverishly targets.”
Temple was shocked when the other kids made a big deal out of her son’s prized beverage.
“It made him seem cool,” she told The Post. “Kids were going crazy for it and saying, ‘PRIME, PRIME, PRIME…’ How do they even know about it?”
Besides being a mom, Temple has a PhD in neuroscience and worked on studies involving children and caffeine at University of Buffalo where she is a professor.
“I wouldn’t have let him get the drink with caffeine,” Temple said. “He got the hydration one” – there is a PRIME energy drink, which debuted in January 2023, and a PRIME hydration drink, which came a year earlier – “but I’m not happy that there is a version with 200 mg of caffeine, aimed at children.”
A preview for an upcoming commercial for PRIME Energy has the hallmarks of a viral TikTok video: messy stuff being thrown at the commercial’s drink-chugging star and urgent narration.
In studying more than 100 children, Temple continued, “We found that there is a strong desire to continue drinking the caffeinated beverage and, if consumed later in the day, it could impact a child’s ability to fall asleep. If a kid, with a small body, has a few cans, it can make him jittery or cause him to throw up.”
Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, primary care pediatrician at Columbia University Irvin Medical Center in Manhattan, shares the concern.
“The main concern is how appealing it is to children,” Bracho-Sanchez told The Post, referring to the brightly-colored cans with flavors including blue raspberry, strawberry watermelon and tropical punch.
“If it was clearly for adults and had a crazy amount of caffeine, we would be having a different conversation.”
PRIME told The Post in a statement that its energy drink is not made for children and its packaging makes clear it is not for under-18s.
“As a brand, our top priority is consumer safety, so we welcome discussions with the FDA or any other organization regarding suggested industry changes they feel are necessary in order to protect our consumers,” it added.
Paul has boasted about soaring sales of PRIME, which is made by Congo, an energy drinks star-up in Louisville, Ky. He and KSI are listed as founders.
The duo have have energetically promoted the drinks around the world, signing a deal to make PRIME hydration the official sports drink of UFC, and doing the same with major-name sports teams including the LA Dodgers, and soccer teams Arsenal, of London, England, and Barcelona, of Spain.
The worry for Bracho-Sanchez is what happens if kids drink multiple cans of Prime energy drink. “When there is something cool, with different flavors, kids want to try the different flavors. It is possible that they do not consume just one can and that is when we get into dangerous territory.
“When we get to higher amounts of caffeine, I worry about kids experiencing heart palpitations and abnormal heart rhythms.
“It’s rare, but if you have an underlying condition, like heart arrhythmia, which you may not know you have, and you test your body, we can have dangerous medical consequences.
“You can go into an abnormal heart rhythm that requires emergency medical care. If it happens to one kid, that is one kid too many.”
It has happened in the UK, where a school in Newport, Wales, told parents that a child had suffered a cardiac episode after drinking a can of PRIME, WalesOnline reported.
The school texted parents to tell them: “The child had to have their stomach pumped and although better now the parent wanted us to share this as a reminder of the potential harmful effects.”
And the drink is not even easy to get in the UK. Supply problems there, according to Insider, have resulted in a black market among students desiring the PRIME drinks that they can’t get their hands on.
They were selling PRIME for as much as $12 per bottle — or extorting other kids for the drinks.
A bodega owner in Brooklyn told The Post that it is not unusual to see parents from European nations loading up on the drink to bring home for their kids. “They spend $50, $60, $80,” said the owner who did not reveal his name for privacy reasons. “For now, it’s a big deal among the kids.”
Too bad for those who live in Denmark, where sales of the energy drink are “not legal.” In New Zealand, it is not sold due to the excess of caffeine.
As to what happens with PRIME energy drink in the US, Bracho-Sanchez said, “I hope the FDA puts restrictions on how this drink is advertised and marketed, [with] meaningful conversations about the potential dangers.”