- Powdered caffeine has caused caffeine overdose in the past – leading to the loss of precious lives.
- The FDA has banned the sales of bulk caffeine products in powdered and liquid form.
Four years ago, there was an uproar over the death of a prom king in Ohio. Logan Stiner, who at the time of his passing was at the age of eighteen. He had experienced an irregular heartbeat and seizures, which was subsequently proven to be caffeine overdose as a result of the ingestion of caffeine powder. Following that, his parents turned to the NBC News for public exposure in order to voice her discontentment towards the availability of caffeine, the substance which she compared to be “as illegal as heroin”. Stiner was not the only victim of the powdered caffeine. Of course, the parents of the victim then contended for the product to be banned and taken off the shelves.
Today, the sales of bulk packages of caffeine in liquid or powdered form is no longer permitted. This was made public by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday. From the official statement issued by the FDA, they highlighted the immediate implementation of the policy. The exact justification provided was with an emphasis on “the significant public health concern”. They provided the reasoning as follows.
“Highly concentrated and pure caffeine, often sold in bulk packages, have been linked to at least two deaths in otherwise healthy individuals.”
Despite the unfortunate events in the past, the FDA has explained the underlying issue. In actuality, a moderate amount of caffeine consumption can be considered to be relatively safe for a regularly healthy individual. However, these intensely concentrated caffeine products do not resemble the regularly consumed caffeine products that consumers are accustomed to. Yet again, more often than not, certain consumers fail to differentiate these products. They are mistaken to be water when it is in the form of liquid and sugar when it is in its powdered form. The FDA further emphasized the risks that they present.
“The consequences of a consumer mistakenly confusing one of these products could be toxic or even lethal.”
In conjunction with this, there is an issue with the amount of consumption. When a product is not labeled as hazardous, people often forget the importance of moderate consumption. Hence, the question becomes: How much is too much? Here’s a simple guideline.
Based on the FDA’s regulation, any amount between ten to fourteen grams of caffeine is definitely too much. News Week has tossed the phrase “life-threatening” around in describing the lethalness of such amount. What exactly is within the frame of safety, you may wonder. Well, the FDA puts the actual measurement of concentrated caffeine number to be consumed in one serving at a trifling 200 milligram. To further clarify, that is fewer than 10 percent of one teaspoon. This is a measure of the powdered caffeine. That is extremely little. On the other hand, that fills up slightly more than two teaspoons of caffeine in its liquid form.
Three years ago, five corporations that were in the line of these bulk caffeine products distribution had received serious warnings from the FDA.
Yet again, regardless of the amount stated in the guidelines, there are people who have had bad experiences with the consumption of merely one gram. When it comes to matters concerning the human body, it is best to consider it on a case by case basis, as there are never two people who are exactly alike.
For caffeine addicts and regular coffee drinkers, however, there is no need to worry. The FDA has also included a statement to exclude irrelevant products that some of us see as necessities.
“This guidance does not affect other types of products that might also contain caffeine, such as prescription or over-the-counter drugs or conventional food.”
Featured image via flickr/ Marco Verch