FDA currently unable to limit sale of powdered caffeine

Washington residents may be interested in learning more about the FDA’s limited ability to reduce the amount of powdered caffeine available for sale. The FDA claims that the consumption of caffeine powder has already resulted in two deaths. According to the Federal Substance Abuse Administration, almost 21,000 individuals attend the emergency room every year due to complications caused by the effects of caffeine. Recently, there have been consumer advocates claiming that caffeine in its pure powder form could be a cause of death that goes undetected.

Even though the FDA governs the amount of caffeine available in foods, beverages and medicine, the federal agency does not have jurisdiction over the substance in powder form when it’s considered to be a supplement, according to sources. The only recourse the FDA may have would be petitioning the U.S. Justice Department to remove the product from the market, but the process could take years. The FDA has already published a blog post online urging consumers to avoid powdered caffeine when possible.

One of the caffeine deaths reported involved an 18-year-old male in Ohio. The state has already admitted more than 200 individuals into healthcare facilities due to overdoses of caffeine. Specific numbers in Washington were not reported. The FDA is reportedly considering taking regulatory action that could result in banning the product outright or simply issuing warning letters to anyone distributing the product.

Those who have been injured after consuming defective products, or products without sufficient labeling, may benefit from consulting a lawyer. Legal counsel may be able to investigate the incident in order to help identify which parties can be held accountable for the ensuing injuries. Plaintiffs in these types of cases are often entitled to recover restitution that helps compensate for medical expenses and other hardships caused by their injuries.

Source: U.S. News & World Report News, “FDA Hands Tied in Powdered Caffeine Abuse Cases“, Kimberly Leonard, December 29, 2014