Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements: Examining Safety - Workshop Summary

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Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements: Examining Safety - Workshop Summary

Published: Friday, January 17, 2014

Editor's Note: Those who market or are considering marketing foods or dietary supplements containing caffeine should read these IOM proceedings.  FDA is reading them. State attorneys general, consumer lawyers and groups, and legislators will be reading them.  FDA has made its concern clear: "In the last ten years, the marketplace has seen an influx of caffeinated energy drinks and a wide range of foods with added caffeine. It is apparent that caffeine is now appearing in a range of new foods and beverages. We are especially concerned with products that may be attractive and readily available to children and adolescents, without careful consideration of their cumulative impact."  FDA has not yet proceeded in any precipitous fashion and has stated that it "appreciate[s] the voluntary restraint that some companies have shown as we continue to investigate safe levels of caffeine consumption."

Institute of Medicine

Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements: Examining Safety - Workshop Summary   

Caffeine, a central nervous stimulant, is arguably the most ingested pharmacologically active substance in the world. As it occurs naturally in more than 60 plants, caffeine has been part of many cultures for centuries. But the caffeine-in-food landscape is quickly changing. Along with energy drinks and supplements, the array of new caffeine-containing products, including food products, is rapidly expanding. Historically, scientific research has shown that moderate consumption of naturally-occurring caffeine, such as in coffee and tea, by healthy adults is not associated with adverse health effects. However, the inclusion of caffeine in products such as soft drinks and other beverages, foods, and supplements raises concerns about safety, and about whether new products target populations not normally associated with high caffeine consumption - like children and adolescents - and whether caffeine poses a greater health risk to those populations.

At the request of the FDA, the IOM held a workshop August 5-6, 2013, to review the available science on safe levels of caffeine consumption in foods, beverages, and dietary supplements and to identify data gaps. This document summarizes the workshop.

Additional Information:

  • FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael R. Taylor's Statement on the Institute of Medicine Report on Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements
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