Illegal energy drink Prime packed with dangerous caffeine levels being sold to Kiwi kids

An illegal energy drink packed with dangerous levels of caffeine is catching the eye of Kiwi kids. 

Prime is a hydration and energy drink brand owned in part by some of YouTube's most successful creators - celebrity boxers Logan Paul and KSI.

Between them, the pair have 78 million YouTube subscribers, and thanks to a relentless online marketing campaign their drinks have amassed a cult following.

The pair sells two main products, one of which is a hydration drink, similar to a relatively harmless Powerade or Gatorade. 

But it's their energy drink that's causing problems. It's illegal in Aotearoa because it exceeds our caffeine limits. It has 200mg of caffeine - that's nearly double the amount in a Red Bull and more than double your average coffee. 

Though it's illegal, it only took Newshub half an hour to find one for sale up the road. 

"I don't think they should be sold at all," Liggins Institute Paediatric Endocrinology Professor Wayne Cutfield.  

Cutfield said the drink is simply not safe for children.

"A racing heart, agitation, restlessness, anxiety. Parents need to be warned they should not allow their children to drink this stuff."

Despite this, the drink is circulating in dairies and creeping into schools. 

"Some children had been putting their money together to buy some of these Prime energy drinks which they had purchased from a local shop," said Northcote Primary School principal Andrew Brown. 

Those kids were just nine and 10 years old and the reason they had to put their money together is the drinks cost so much.

A bottle bought by Newshub cost $17. 

Northcote Primary on the North Shore banned the product and the principal said other schools should do the same.

"If any school had any instances of this they should definitely communicate that to their parent community," said Brown. 

When Brown did that, parents told a local dairy to stop selling the drink to their children, which they did. But it's not just dairies selling them. 

The scarcity of both Prime's products has seen prices soar online and the hydration drinks have become kids' collectables 

Big Boi Sneakers and Prime seller Zeshan Bari is among those who jumped on the trend but didn't realise selling the energy drink is against the law.

"One morning I was just on my laptop being happy with all the orders I was getting and then I got an email from MPI [Ministry for Primary Industries] and they were like, 'This has too much caffeine'," Bari said. 

"They were like, 'You've got to take it down off your website or we'll pursue legal action'. So I took it down straight away."

But others are selling the energy drink despite knowing the dangers. One post on Facebook marketplace said, "Would like this gone asap", while another said, "Buy before I'm banned".

MPI said fighting the sales is "uniquely challenging" as it's being imported in small packages being sent directly to consumers. But MPI has received complaints and these are under active investigation.

They have also raised the issue with the United States and United Kingdom manufacturers.

But schools and parents said a stronger crackdown can't come soon enough.

"If there's no restriction on shopkeepers selling it to children, they can put their money together - and it's pretty dangerous," Brown said. 

Until they're off our shelves for good, parents are being told to stop their kids from buying them.