Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took an important step to better protect consumers from the dangers of highly concentrated and pure caffeine products. These products present a significant public health threat because of the high risk that they will be erroneously used at excessive, potentially dangerous doses. Highly concentrated and pure caffeine, often sold in bulk packages, have been linked to at least two deaths in otherwise healthy individuals.
The agency issued a new guidance to clarify that dietary supplements containing pure or highly concentrated caffeine in powder or liquid forms are considered unlawful when sold in bulk quantities directly to consumers. Given the significant public health concern, this guidance is immediately in effect. The FDA is prepared to take steps right away to begin removing 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 dietary supplements and sold in bulk quantities, with up to thousands of recommended servings per container. 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," said Scott Gottlieb, M.D., FDA commissioner. "We’re making clear for industry that these highly concentrated forms of caffeine that are being sold in bulk packages are generally illegal under current law. We’ll act to remove these dangerous bulk products from the market."