February 27, 2024

FDA Defining Boundaries for Caffeine in Consumer Products

The FDA’s Michael Taylor has released an article in FDA Voice discussing the limits officials are considering putting on caffeine in consumer products. While many products contain caffeine, some naturally and some added, some products, particularly energy drinks, have come under fire in recent years for having too much of the stimulant. Companies are adding caffeine to everything from gum to waffles, which can all add up to an alarmingly high daily total. It is very easy to consume more caffeine than is safe in today’s marketplace.

FDAMonster Energy Drink was sued last year for allegedly causing a child’s death. Earlier this year, Center for Science in the Public Interest warned consumers about web ads for Five Hour Energy, which is being investigating for allegedly being involved in the deaths of 13 people. In addition, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that most of these energy drinks are mislabeled and display inaccurate levels of the caffeine in those drinks. Two years ago, the Drug Abuse Warning Network said that there is a sharp increase in the number of emergency room visits linked to energy drink consumption.

Those energy drinks are of particular concern. Children and teens who drink them, especially after high stress activities like sports, run the risk of injury. Caffeine can interrupt sleep, it dehydrates, even when consumed in a beverage, and raises blood pressure.

FDA has authority to place limits on the amount of caffeine added to food to ensure safety. Mr. Taylor said in the article, “working within our statutory and public health mandate, we will take whatever actions are needed in the interest of protecting the health of consumers.”

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