Fatalities Cause Powdered Caffeine Supplements to Be Banned by FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently determined that selling high concentrations of caffeine to consumers in bulk is illegal as the supplement poses a high risk when the recommended dose is exceeded.


Two fatalities have been reported in individuals who were otherwise in good health, even though warning letters were sent to numerous suppliers of powdered caffeine in recent years. The cautions included information about the danger of the products and noted that consumers were being placed at an unnecessary risk. Since warning letters did little to protect consumers, the products have now been banned.


The pure caffeine powder and concentrated supplements were available in bulk with thousands of servings in every package. “The dangers of these products arise through user error – people seek an energy increase and mix doses that are too high,” cautioned Lawrence B. Green, attorney, and co-founder of Berger and Green. Online retailers and dietary supplement stores will now have to take the dangerous and illegal products off their shelves.


Actually, just one teaspoon of caffeine in its pure form can be fatal to the majority of adults, and less could be fatal to children. There is a high likelihood of misuse when consumers have to measure a small and specific serving.


The typical suggested safe amount of pure caffeine is no more than 200 mg, which is the equivalent of 1/16 powdered teaspoon or 2.5 liquid teaspoons. Most people likely wouldn’t have the correct instruments to measure the dose correctly; and if they do, mistakes, like packing the powder too firmly or adding a heaping scoop rather than a level scoop, could double a dose.


Premeasured packets of caffeine are not expected to be a safety hazard in the same way, as there is no measuring involved. Capsules or tablets of caffeine are also not nearly as dangerous as the bulk powder form.


This news should not be cause for concern, as consumers should not have difficulty obtaining products that have nontoxic amounts of caffeine. However, even with nontoxic caffeine amounts consumers need to be cautious.


Many individuals don’t recognize how much caffeine they have had over the course of a day. Someone could have an espresso upon waking up, a Red Bull with lunch, and more later without realizing it. Excessive doses of caffeine could be unsafe for anyone, but the dangers can increase for those who digest caffeine slower than others or for people who have heart irregularities.


Becoming dependent on this supplement may not be the best choice for your health either, as caffeine is a stimulant that directly affects the central nervous system. Going too heavy on the caffeine can produce more alertness, but it can also increase irritability, blood pressure, dizziness, nervousness, and even muscle convulsions.


Don’t fret if you’re a normal coffee drinker. Caffeine has been studied carefully and has been found to be safe in recommended doses. Have a cup or two, but don’t overdo it.