Blumenthal Statement on FDA Action to Protect Consumers from Deadly Powdered Caffeine

(Hartford, CT) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) released the following statement today after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) issued warning letters to five powdered caffeine distributors, requiring them to revise their labels to clarify serving sizes, potency, and risks associated with the use of powdered caffeine.

I continue to urge the FDA to move forward with a ban on the retail sale of pure powdered caffeine to once and for all stop this product from killing consumers. Powdered caffeine is a threat to public health – putting users in extreme peril – and we cannot afford to lose any more lives as the result of deceptive labeling and marketing of the dangerous product. I am glad the FDA heeded our call and has begun the process of protecting consumers against the significant risk posed by powdered caffeine.”

Blumenthal has been a leader in the national fight to ban the sale and marketing of pure powdered caffeine. In January 2015, Blumenthal and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) urged the FDA to immediately ban the retail sale and marketing of pure caffeine in support of a Citizen Petition delivered to then-FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. After a New York Times report detailing the prevalent use of caffeine inhalers to deliver powdered caffeine in July, Blumenthal called on the FDA to ban the sale and marketing of powdered caffeine for retail use with U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ed Markey (D-M.A.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

According to the FDA, a single teaspoon of pure caffeine is roughly equivalent to the amount in 28 cups of coffee. Pure caffeine overdoses have been responsible for more than 200 hospital admissions in Ohio, including five life-threatening cases in 2014. The latest pure caffeine product to be marketed in the U.S. is an inhaler-like product, which the FDA has not reviewed for safety. Although the FDA has alerted consumers to the dangers of powdered caffeine on its website, these products remain on the shelves and available online without any sort of regulation, warnings, or protections.