Lest you think that fruit-flavored concoctions mixing caffeine with alcohol were the extreme edge of the supplement industry, please meet Lazy Cakes.
After the Red Bull era, in which dozens of foods and drinks were laced with supplements to “pump you up,” come new offerings designed to calm you down and — in the case of Lazy Cakes — put you to sleep.
A Lazy Cake is a chocolate brownie-covered dose of melatonin 24 times greater than what Europeans recommend for adults. It comes wrapped in a package featuring a cartoon character, yet the maker of Lazy Cakes claims adults are its only target. The brownies sell for about $2.50 to $5 in head shops, convenience and health stores.
But in Fall River, Massachusetts, where local officials have been on guard after the recent controversy over alcohol and caffeine drinks, the relaxation brownies known as Lazy Cakes, Kush Cakes and Lulla Pies are proving to make people politically edgy.
Fall River Mayor William Flanagan announced at a May 12 press conference that the city would immediately be taking up a local ordinance to ban the sale of Lazy Cakes.
Mayor Flanagan charged that the brownie, with its psychedelic “Larry Lazy Cakes” cartoon character, is a child safety issue. Flanagan said this is a “a brownie that’s packaged to attract kids.”
“It’s shameful Corporate America would take such a product as a brownie, dress it up in colorful packaging, use a cartoon character to sell it and then place it on store shelves throughout our nation, where it can be accessed by our children,” Flanagan said.
Other elected officials in Massachusetts have signed on to throw “Larry Lazy Cakes” under the bus. In New Bedford, the council also agreed to consider a motion banning or regulating sleep snacks.
“How are they able to sell this type of stuff?,” one local official asked.
Local Massachusetts officials admit they are not sure if they have the power to ban products like Lazy Cakes, which are sold in interstate commerce. That’s generally the purview of the federal government, except that the melatonin-laced brownies are marketed as dietary supplements, so they’re not subject to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Memphis-based Baked World has been selling Lazy Cakes since 2010. The company’s official website makes no health or drug claims about Lazy Cakes. The ingredients, in addition to melatonin, include valerian root extract, rose hips extracts, and passion flower.
Melatonin, in liquid and pill form, is sold in retail health and vitamin stores as a sleep aid. A 1-2 milligram dose is recommended, and 5-6 milligrams is usually enough to induce sleep. One Lazy Cake brownie contains 8 milligrams of melatonin. Package label information recommends eating half a brownie twice a day.
In Europe, the common Melatonin prescription for adults is only .03 milligrams.
Baked World has marketed Lazy Cakes only since 2010. Ingredients in addition to melatonin include valerian root extract, rose hips extracts, and passion flower. The Lazy Cake package also states the brownies are for adults only, and advises against driving, operating machinery or drinking alcohol after eating one of the chocolate baked goods.
Emergencies involving melatonin — almost 5,000 a year — are more frequent than those associated with any other supplement, according to the National Capital Poison Center.
After Boston television stations and other media picked up on the melatonin-brownie story, Terry Harris, chief executive officer for the company that owns Lazy Cakes, said he “welcomed the opportunity to have a conversation with Mayor Flanagan.”
Harris went on to say Lazy Cakes were created “to provide adults with a great-tasting way to combat stress associated with our fast-paced lives.” He said the ingredients can all be purchased at any health food or vitamin store.