This Ridiculously Caffeinated Sunkist Sent Someone To The Hospital

When most people think of soda, they immediately think of options such as Coke, Sprite, or Pepsi. But one of the country's most popular soda choices, according to The Daily Meal, is actually Sunkist. The brand offers 10 flavors, though you are probably most familiar with its orange soda. Sunkist is one of the few sodas on the market not owned by the Coca-Cola Company or PepsiCo. Instead, Sunkist is an agricultural cooperative owned by various citrus growers from California and Arizona. The brand also makes pistachio milk and orange juice products, though its popular orange soda (and other flavors) is licensed under the Dr. Pepper/Seven Up brand name, per the Sunkist website.

Sunkist first hit the market in 1979 as a direct competitor to the popular Fanta orange soda. HuffPost once ranked Sunkist as the best-tasting orange soda on the market, though it's unclear whether it's also the best-selling. Despite its popularity, Sunkist came under fire about a decade ago when it accidentally added too much caffeine to its drinks — and the incident even led to hospitalizations.

Sunkist once accidentally over-caffeinated its beverages

Most soda brands contain caffeine. A standard 12-ounce can of Coke contains 34 milligrams of caffeine, per the soda company's website. Sunkist, however, once had much more. When Sunkist first hit the market, The Daily Meal reported that a standard can contained 41 milligrams of caffeine. However, a bad batch of Sunkist once resulted in roughly five times that amount ending up in the drinks. According to the book "Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us," Sunkist mistakenly infused its 12-ounce soda cans with a whopping 238 milligrams of caffeine in 2010. The book reports that Sunkist received complaints of people saying the soda had developed an odd medicinal flavor. Others complained of "throwing up and even going to the hospital overnight."

As a result, Sunkist had to pull more than 4,000 cases of soda from store shelves. The book adds that the three employees who oversaw the production process were subsequently fired. Years later, Sunkist eventually lowered its caffeine content to only 19 milligrams, which is where it stands today.