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Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > FDA Cracks Down on Powdered Caffeine Distributors

FDA Cracks Down on Powdered Caffeine Distributors

Posted 02 September 2015 | By Zachary Brennan 

FDA Cracks Down on Powdered Caffeine Distributors

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued five warning letters to distributors of pure powdered caffeine as part of its efforts to help prevent additional deaths from the use of these products, which have already resulted in the deaths of two teens.

"The difference between a safe amount and a toxic dose of caffeine in these pure powdered products is very small," FDA cautioned. "Furthermore, safe quantities of these products can be nearly impossible to measure accurately with common kitchen measuring tools."

The five warning letters went to:

 The Center for Science in the Public Interest praised the issuance of the letters, but said the agency still "falls short of a comprehensive ban and recall of the product.

"We hope that these letters are a first step toward a ban, as our petition last year urged, and not a substitute for one," the center said.

According to FDA, one teaspoon of pure powdered caffeine is equivalent to the amount of caffeine in about 28 cups of regular coffee. Many consumers may not be aware that these pure powdered caffeine products are much more potent and can cause serious health effects, including rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures and death. Vomiting, diarrhea, stupor and disorientation are also symptoms of caffeine toxicity.

FDA says it will continue to "aggressively monitor the marketplace for pure powdered caffeine products and take action as appropriate." If violations occur, FDA can seize products or issue an injunction to prevent the firm from continuing to manufacture or market the product.



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