Powdered caffeine is becoming increasingly popular, and it is commonly mixed into beverages by people looking for a boost of energy. But it can be lethal, and it is additionally known to cause dangerously erratic heartbeat and seizures. Just one teaspoon of the substance, according to The New York Times, contains as much caffeine as nearly 30 cups of coffee.
Last year, two healthy young men died after consuming too much caffeine powder. In response, the FDA issued long-overdue warning letters to five producers of the substance. Among these five producers – Bridge City Bulk, Hard Eight Nutrition, Kreativ Health, PureBulk, and SmartPowders – only Bridge City Bulk has responded to the letter so far. The other companies have 15 days to respond. The FDA warned the companies that they “must take prompt action to correct the violations.” Failure to comply could result in the FDA seizing the product or stopping them from producing it.
Bridge City Bulk says that it “immediately stopped selling the material” upon receipt of the FDA’s letter. The company had been selling powdered caffeine in packages ranging in size from one kilogram to 25 kilograms. The 10-kilogram package contains 50,000 servings of caffeine, which is more than enough to kill a consumer.
A consumer advocacy group known as the Center for Science in the Public Interest is pleased that the FDA sent the warning, but it is pushing for a ban on the substance altogether. The Center notes that consumers do not understand how dangerous the powdered caffeine is. There are no warning labels or childproof containers on these products. They are simply packaged in a zip-lock bag.