The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to five distributors of pure powdered caffeine due to its danger and significant risk of illness or injury to consumers.

The deaths of two healthy males in 2014 prompted the FDA’s issuance of “Consumer Advice” regarding the dangers of pure powdered caffeine. One teaspoon of pure powdered caffeine is equivalent to the amount of caffeine in about 28 cups of regular coffee. Serious adverse events such as vomiting, diarrhea, stupor, disorientation, rapid or dangerous arrhythmias, seizures, and death can all occur.

There is a very small difference between the amount that is considered safe and toxic in these pure powdered products. Also, it is very difficult to accurately measure a safe amount with common kitchen tools; teaspoons are not precise enough to measure the amount (mg) of caffeine per serving size. The FDA added that certain pre-existing conditions can potentiate the effects of caffeine and be more dangerous to these consumers.

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The FDA announced it will continue to monitor for pure powdered caffeine products and take appropriate action. The Agency can enforce product seizures or an injunction to prevent future manufacturing or marketing of the product.

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