Bulk caffeine products may have killed at least two people and they don’t belong on the market, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday.
“These products present a significant public health threat because of the high risk that they will be erroneously used at excessive, potentially dangerous doses,” the FDA said in a statement.
“Highly concentrated and pure caffeine, often sold in bulk packages, have been linked to at least two deaths in otherwise healthy individuals.”
“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.”
One teaspoon of the powdered caffeine can deliver the equivalent of 20 or more cups of coffee, the FDA said. That’s enough to kill.
“Regardless of whether the product contains a warning label, such products present a significant and unreasonable risk of illness or injury to the consumer,” the FDA said.
The FDA’s action does not include energy drinks or energy products that contain caffeine, or supplements. “Moreover, this guidance does not affect other types of products that might also contain caffeine, such as prescription or over-the-counter drugs or conventional foods, like traditionally caffeinated beverages,” it said.
But the bulk products can easily confuse people, who may accidentally overdose on them.
“While consumers of commonly available 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 and highly concentrated caffeine products are much more potent and can cause serious health effects, including rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures and death,” the FDA said.