FDA bans bulk sales of caffeine to consumers: 4 things to know

The FDA banned the sale of highly concentrated or pure caffeine in bulk directly to consumers April 13, calling it a major public health threat.

Here are four things to know.

1. While online shopping has facilitated the sale of pure or highly concentrated caffeine in powder or liquid form in bulk, the guidance released by the FDA April 13 will ban the sale of these products directly to consumers.

2. In justifying the new guidance, the agency said consumers can easily consume too much caffeine when they have access to these products in bulk. For example, a single teaspoon of powdered pure caffeine can contain 3,200 milligrams of caffeine, which equates to about 20 to 28 cups of coffee. With that in mind, substituting a tablespoon for a teaspoon could be detrimental to an individual's health given that is a toxic dose of caffeine.

3. "Given the significant public health concern, this guidance is immediately in effect. The FDA is prepared to take steps right away to begin removing illegal products from the market," the agency said in a statement.

4. The guidance does not affect other types of products that contain caffeine, including caffeinated beverages or over-the-counter prescription drugs.

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