FDA cracks down on caffeine-loaded supplements

April 13, 2018

(HealthDay)—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it has issued tough new restrictions on the sale of dietary supplements that contain dangerously high amounts of caffeine.

Supplements that contain pure or highly concentrated caffeine in powder or liquid forms are no longer permitted to be sold in bulk quantities directly to consumers, the agency said.

The new restrictions are effective immediately, and the agency added that it is ready to take action to remove illegal products from the market.

"Despite multiple actions against these products in the past, we've seen a continued trend of products containing highly concentrated or pure caffeine being marketed directly to consumers as and sold in bulk quantities, with up to thousands of recommended servings per container," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in an agency news release.

"We know these products are sometimes being used in potentially dangerous ways. For example, teenagers, for a perceived energy kick, sometimes mix dangerously high amounts of super-concentrated caffeine into workout cocktails. The amounts used can too easily become deceptively high because of the super-concentrated forms and bulk packaging in which the caffeine is being sold," Gottlieb added.

These products have been linked to at least two deaths in otherwise healthy people, according to the FDA.

A half cup of a highly concentrated liquid caffeine can contain approximately 2,000 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, and just a single teaspoon of a powdered pure caffeine product can contain approximately 3,200 mg of caffeine, the agency said.

That's the equivalent of 20 to 28 cups of coffee, a potentially toxic dose of caffeine, the FDA said.

Less than 2 tablespoons of some formulations of powdered, pure caffeine can be deadly to most adults, while even smaller amounts can be life-threatening to children, the FDA said.

Bulk amounts of highly concentrated caffeine pose a high risk of overuse and misuse because consumers have to measure a very small, precise recommended serving and often do not have the proper tools to do so, the FDA explained.

The recommended safe serving of highly concentrated or pure caffeine products is often 200 mg of caffeine—about 1/16 of a teaspoon of pure powder or approximately 2.5 teaspoons of a liquid, according to the agency.

The new rule does not affect other -containing products such as prescription or over-the-counter drugs, or products such as traditionally caffeinated beverages, the FDA said.

Explore further: FDA issues warning letters to powdered caffeine distributors

More information: SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, April 13, 2018

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on caffeine.

Related Stories

FDA issues warning letters to powdered caffeine distributors

September 1, 2015
The Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters to five distributors of pure powdered caffeine, saying the products put consumers at risk of illness or injury.

US warns against 'pure caffeine' after teen dies (Update)

July 18, 2014
US regulators on Friday warned against ingesting pure powdered caffeine, which is being sold in bulk over the Internet and is known to have killed at least one teenager.

US going after sellers of pure caffeine powder

December 23, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is building a legal case against companies that sell pure powdered caffeine, which can be fatal even in small doses.

Study reveals that Italian adolescents are heavy consumers of caffeine

March 7, 2018
More than three-quarters (76%) of Italian adolescents who completed anonymous questionnaires consumed caffeine on a daily basis and nearly half (46%) exceeded the upper limits recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. ...

Caffeine's sport performance advantage for infrequent tea and coffee drinkers

January 19, 2018
A study led by sports scientists at Dublin City University has found that the performance enhancing benefits of caffeine are more apparent in athletes who do not drink caffeine-rich drinks such as tea, coffee, and energy ...

Wrigley takes new caffeinated gum off market

May 9, 2013
(AP)—A Food and Drug Administration investigation into the safety of caffeine-added foods has prompted Wrigley to take its new caffeinated gum off the market for the time being.

Recommended for you

Male contraceptive compound stops sperm without affecting hormones

April 20, 2018
A new study published today in the journal PLOS ONE details how a compound called EP055 binds to sperm proteins to significantly slow the overall mobility of the sperm without affecting hormones, making EP055 a potential ...

New research suggests possible link between sudden infant death syndrome and air pollution

April 20, 2018
A study led by the University of Birmingham suggests a possible association between exposure to certain pollutants and an increased risk of so-called 'cot death'.

A dose of empathy may support patients in pain

April 20, 2018
Research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine suggests that empathic, positive messages from doctors may be of small benefit to patients suffering from pain, and improve their satisfaction about the care ...

For heavy lifting, use exoskeletons with caution

April 20, 2018
You can wear an exoskeleton, but it won't turn you into a superhero.

New device to help patients with rare disease access life-saving treatment

April 19, 2018
Patients with a rare medical condition can receive life-saving treatment at the touch of a button thanks to a new device developed by scientists.

Low-cost anti-hookworm drug boosts female farmers' physical fitness

April 19, 2018
Impoverished female farm workers infected with intestinal parasites known as hookworms saw significant improvements in physical fitness when they were treated with a low-cost deworming drug. The benefits were seen even in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.