FDA Warns of the Dangers of Powdered Caffeine

Photo (cc) by Nina A.J.

If you’re like many Americans, you start your day with a cup (or three) of coffee or maybe an energy drink. The jolt of caffeine those drinks provide can really help jump-start your morning.

But some people are taking their love of caffeine to a whole new level, ditching caffeinated beverages in favor of pure powdered caffeine.

But according to the Food and Drug Administration, powdered caffeine is a dangerous and powerful stimulant and ingesting too much of it can kill you.

In fact, the FDA said two healthy young men died in 2014 after overdosing on powdered caffeine purchased in bulk online.

A caffeine overdose can cause a number of serious and potentially deadly symptoms, including rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, stupor and disorientation.

A single teaspoon of pure powdered caffeine is comparable to drinking 28 cups of coffee. The FDA is warning consumers that the difference between a safe dose and a toxic amount of powdered caffeine is minuscule.

“It is nearly impossible to accurately measure pure powdered caffeine with common kitchen measuring tools, and you can easily consume a lethal amount,” the FDA said.

Because powdered caffeine is typically marketed as a dietary supplement, it’s not regulated by the FDA, but that’s not stopping the agency from trying to crack down on distributors of the stimulant.

The FDA recently issued warning letters to distributors of pure powdered caffeine, Purebulk, National Food Supplements, Hard Eight Nutrition, Smartpowders and Bridge City Bulk, because the “products are dangerous and present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury to consumers.”

At issue is the recommended dosing and product labeling on the bulk products. For instance, the letter to Graham, North Carolina-based Smartpowders lays out some of the issues, including:

  • The “product is packaged to contain an amount that would be lethal to many consumers.”
  • The “packaging requires the consumer to separate out a safe serving from this potentially lethal amount.”
  • The “product labeling incorrectly implies that this process of separating out a safe serving from a potentially lethal amount can be done with a common household measuring tool (a one-quarter teaspoon), when in fact it would require a precise scale.”

The companies have 15 days to respond to the warning letters. The federal agency could seize the caffeine products or prevent producers from manufacturing it if they fail to comply with labeling requirements for all products, including those on the market.

What do you think about the FDA’s powdered caffeine warning? Are you a caffeine fanatic? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams

You can spot scammers and con artists with a little know-how.

9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean
9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean

We’ve rounded up some of the best products for cleaning your bathroom, kitchen and every other room.

25 Things You Should Never Buy — and What to Buy Instead
25 Things You Should Never Buy — and What to Buy Instead

If you really want to save money, become a more intentional shopper.

10 Foods That Can Keep for Years
10 Foods That Can Keep for Years

These are some of the longest-lasting groceries you can buy.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals in 2020
How to Achieve Your Financial Goals in 2020

New year, new you. Get your finances on track with the help of these tools for investing, saving, budgeting and earning.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.