New Jersey students sick after trying new anti-energy drink

The variety of options of Marley’s Mellow Mood. Photo credit

William R. Satz Middle School in Holmdel, N.J., started school on Nov. 30 just like any other day. Students arrived and classes began as schedule. Before anyone knew it, it was time for lunch. What happened next was best described by a student: “It was like a zombiefest.”

The New Jersey middle school was offering a new anti-energy drink in the cafeteria called Marley’s Mellow Mood, named after the deceased iconic reggae artist Bob Marley. This anti-energy drink has been branded to “reduce stress and relieve tension, while calming the soul and easing the mind.”

After the lunch period was over, students started exhibiting zombie-like symptoms that included vomiting, lethargic behavior and drowsiness.

This is not the first anti-energy drink to hit the market. Back in 2009, “Drank” took the energy drink world by storm, claiming to calm the drinker down instead of giving them a burst of energy.

However, there were concerns with some of the natural ingredients, one of which is included in Marley’s Mellow Mood.

“Valerian roots and rose hips are not really reviewed by the FDA,” said David DiPersio, a clinical pharmacist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, to TIME Magazine. “You can’t be certain of the safety and efficacy of the drink.”

While the ingredients in Drank are different than those associated with the New Jersey “zombie” outbreak, valerian root is part of the main ingredients.

According to Marley’s website, valerian root is supposed to promote relaxation without drowsiness. The label, however, tells a different story.

Underneath the nutrition facts, it reads, “The all-natural botanical ingredients in this product have been specially blended to mellow your mood, and may cause drowsiness … Do not mix with alcohol. Not intended for children …”

Since the incident, the drink has been removed from William R. Satz Middle School and a spokesperson from the Chartwells School Dining Services released a statement formally apologizing.

“We were informed that Marley’s was a new product that did not go through the approval process required for all new products,” the spokesperson said. “We sincerely regret that this product was sold and that students had an adverse reaction to it.”

The on-site manager is currently being investigated and is no longer in their position, according to My Fox New York.

For more information about the Marley’s Mellow Mood story, please check out CBS News.

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