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    Wrigley’s caffeinated gum on hold

    The caffeine in a stick of Alert gum is equivalent to half a cup of coffee.
    Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. via AP
    The caffeine in a stick of Alert gum is equivalent to half a cup of coffee.

    WASHINGTON — Wrigley says it is taking a new caffeinated gum off the market temporarily as the Food and Drug Administration investigates the safety of added caffeine.

    The company said Wednesday that it has stopped new sales and marketing of Alert Energy Caffeine Gum ‘‘out of respect’’ for the agency, which said it would investigate the health effects of added caffeine in foods just as Wrigley rolled out Alert last month. A stick of the gum is equivalent to half a cup of coffee.

    ‘‘After discussions with the FDA, we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation’s food supply,’’ said Wrigley North America president Casey Keller.

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    Keller said the company has paused production and sales of the gum to give the agency time to regulate caffeine-added products.

    Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner of foods, said Wrigley’s decision to stop production for now ‘‘demonstrates real leadership and commitment to the public health.’’ He said the company made the move after a series of discussions with the agency.