FDA Sends Warning Letter to Powdered Caffeine Manufacturers that the Product is Dangerous
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent official letters to five powdered caffeine manufacturers stating that the product is dangerous and may have caused at least two deaths.
Last year, two otherwise healthy young men – one from Ohio, and one from Georgia – died from overdoses of powdered caffeine. Although the drug is sold online and through some other outlets as a dietary supplement, doses that are tolerable to the human body are difficult to measure. In fact, one teaspoon of powdered caffeine equals approximately 28 eight-ounce cups of coffee.
The FDA stated that powdered caffeine is “potentially dangerous” and presented a “significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury.” Many users mix the powder into drinks in order to get their caffeine fix without added calories from sugar or milk.
“The difference between a safe amount and a toxic dose of caffeine in these pure powdered products is very small,” the agency noted on its website. “Volume measures, such as teaspoons, are not precise enough to calculate how many milligrams of caffeine are in the serving size.”
While many coffee or soda drinkers are familiar with the regular side effects of too much caffeine, including headaches, dehydration, and “the jitters” or shaking and twitching, caffeine in larger doses can cause other problems, including heart palpitations and murmurs, erratic heartbeat, and seizures. These extreme side effects can lead to death.
Laura MacCleery, the regulatory affairs director for the Centers for Science in the Public Interest, said: “People assume something this dangerous would not be sold to consumers in this form. They are used to seeing warning labels and childproof caps on aspirin. And this is just a zip-lock bag.” Her group has previously petitioned the FDA to ban powdered caffeine.
The FDA’s letter also claimed that manufacturers of powdered caffeine sold their product in amounts that “are packaged to contain an amount that would be lethal to many consumers.” The federal agency told these manufacturers to immediately change their packaging of the product or stop selling it – if they could not, then the FDA would stop the company’s operations.
The five manufacturers that received warning letters are Bridge City Bulk – Bridge City LLC; Hard Eight Nutrition LLC; PureBulk Inc.; SPN LLC, which does business as Smartpowders; and Kreativ Health Inc., which does business as Natural Food Supplements.
“The companies have 15 business days from the date of receipt of the letter to communicate to the agency the specific steps they will take to bring their products into compliance with the law,” the FDA said on its website.
Now that the agency has officially made a statement against the safety of powdered caffeine, some consumers who have suffered serious side effects including developing a heart condition or a seizure disorder could investigate the root cause and find that the consumption of powdered caffeine led to their illnesses.