Senators Push for Powdered Caffeine Restrictions, CRN Applauds


The push for regulating the ingredient comes after two young men died from using powdered caffeine last year.

Last week, six U.S. senators, led by Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), wrote to FDA and urged the agency to immediately ban the direct-to-consumer marketing and retail sale of pure caffeine. The Council for Responsible Nutrition has since been quick to applaud the senators’ efforts and pledge support to FDA in preventing consumers from obtaining powdered caffeine.

“Consumers have no reason to purchase pure caffeine and would be unable to properly measure it into doses containing safe levels of caffeine,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO, CRN, in a press release dated January 27. “Direct-to-consumer sales of pure caffeine present an unreasonable risk to public health.”

A single teaspoon of pure caffeine is roughly the same amount of caffeine as 25 cups of coffee, according to FDA. Despite this, powdered caffeine products remain on shelves without warnings or regulation.

The senators were also supported by the parents of Logan Stiner and Wade Sweatt, both of whom died last year after ingesting too much powdered caffeine, according to a press release issued by Brown’s office.

“Powdered caffeine sold in bulk is markedly different than energy drinks, energy shots, or other retail products, such as pills, that contain caffeine,” the senators wrote in the letter to FDA. “Because of the risk powdered caffeine poses to consumers, these products merit swift and significant action by your agency.”

CRN issued guidelines in 2013 regarding appropriate amounts of caffeine for use in products and how consumers should evaluate their caffeine intake. Mister says ingredient suppliers should still be able to sell powdered caffeine to manufacturers who understand how to properly mix and dilute the ingredient into caffeine. However, CRN shares the senators’ opinion that caffeine be kept out of the hands of consumers.

U.S. senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) joined senators Blumenthal and Brown in signing the letter to FDA.


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook magazine


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