Food

Pure Powdered Caffeine

Pure powdered caffeine products are potentially dangerous and have contributed to at least two deaths.

One teaspoon of pure powdered caffeine is equivalent to the amount of caffeine in about 28 cups of regular coffee. While consumers of caffeinated products such as coffee, tea, and soda may be aware of caffeine’s less serious effects – such as nervousness and tremors – they 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.

The difference between a safe amount and a toxic dose of caffeine in these pure powdered products is very small. Safe quantities of these products can be nearly impossible to measure accurately with common kitchen measuring tools. Volume measures, such as teaspoons, are not precise enough to calculate how many milligrams of caffeine are in the serving size. Pre-existing conditions can intensify the effects of caffeine and make the product more dangerous for these individuals.

The FDA aggressively monitors the marketplace for pure powdered caffeine products and will take action as appropriate. If violations exist, the FDA can pursue enforcement action, such as seizure of the product or an injunction to prevent the firm from continuing to manufacture or market the product.

Recent FDA action on pure powdered caffeine products

On September 1, 2015, the FDA issued warning letters to five distributors of pure powdered caffeine because these products are dangerous and present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury to consumers.

Under existing law, including the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act passed by Congress in 1994, the FDA can take action to remove products from the market, but the agency must first establish that such products are adulterated (e.g., that the product is unsafe) or misbranded (e.g., that the labeling is false or misleading). 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 agency will continue to update this page in the event additional actions are taken related to pure powdered caffeine products.


For more information:

Links to Warning Letters:

 

Page Last Updated: 09/01/2015
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