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

How to survive on 'Game of Thrones': Switch allegiances

December 9, 2018
Characters in the Game of Thrones TV series are more likely to die if they do not switch allegiance, and are male, according to an article published in the open access journal Injury Epidemiology.

Expert calls for strong, sustainable action to make world roadways safer

December 7, 2018
According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report on road safety, more than 1.3 million people die on the world's roadways each year—and millions more are injured or disabled. Yet despite the huge cost to families ...

Hazelnuts improve older adults' micronutrient levels

December 6, 2018
Older adults who added hazelnuts to their diet for a few months significantly improved their levels of two key micronutrients, new research at Oregon State University indicates.

Regular bedtimes and sufficient sleep for children may lead to healthier teens

December 6, 2018
Having a regular, age-appropriate bedtime and getting sufficient sleep from early childhood may be important for healthy body weight in adolescence, according to researchers at Penn State.

Stress from using electronic health records is linked to physician burnout

December 5, 2018
While electronic health records (EHRs) improve communication and access to patient data, researchers found that stress from using EHRs is associated with burnout, particularly for primary care doctors such as pediatricians, ...

Chemicals in personal care and household products linked to earlier puberty in girls

December 4, 2018
Chemicals that are widely used in personal care and household products are linked to girls entering puberty at earlier ages, according to findings from a long-running study of mothers and children published today.

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.