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Very Real

FDA Pulls Bulk Caffeine From The Shelves

A spoonful of caffeine could kill you.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Who hasn’t chugged the odd coffee to stay up? Caffeine is a good friend to many of us — but too much can be lethal, the Food And Drug Administration says, as it bans the selling of caffeine in bulk.

The FDA released a guidance on Friday announcing that the sale of pure or highly concentrated caffeine in powder or liquid forms in bulk quantities is now considered illegal, effective immediately. Such products “present a significant public health threat” because of the risk that consumers may inadvertently ingest a dangerous or even lethal amount.

Some perspective: a single teaspoon of a powdered pure caffeine product can contain approximately 3,200 mg of caffeine, according to the FDA — the equivalent of about 20 to 28 cups of coffee, a potentially toxic dose of caffeine.

For most adults, less than two tablespoons of some formulations of powdered, pure caffeine is enough to be lethal, the release continued, while smaller amounts can prove life threatening to children. The possibility of human error makes the sale of bulk caffeine even more dangerous. While the recommended serving size of caffeine equates to 1/16 of a teaspoon of pure powder or approximately 2.5 teaspoons of liquid caffeine, many consumers don’t have the tools or the knowledge to properly measure such amounts, the release explained, and the results have been deadly.

“Highly concentrated and pure caffeine, often sold in bulk packages, have been linked to at least two deaths in otherwise healthy individuals,” the statement reads.

This isn’t the first time the FDA has tried to make the public aware of the dangers of caffeine. 16-year-old Davis Allen Cripe reportedly died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia after ingesting a number of beverages containing caffeine in 2014, CNN reported. That same year, 18-year-old Logan Stiner died of a caffeine overdose after ingesting too much powdered caffeine, according to USA Today, prompting the FDA to issue a warning letter to five sellers of bulk caffeine, Business Insider reports.

Hmm. Maybe just stick to coffee?

(Photo: Stock image. Model posing as a tired woman on a sofa. By Tara Moore/Getty Images)