caffeine 300WASHINGTON, D.C. (5/4/13) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that, in response to a trend in which caffeine is being added to a growing number of products, the agency will investigate the safety of caffeine in food products, particularly its effects on children and adolescents.
 
Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at FDA, answers questions about his concerns and possible FDA actions.
 
Q: The announcement comes just as Wrigley's (a subsidiary of Mars) is promoting a new pack of gum with eight pieces, each containing as much caffeine as half a cup of coffee. Is the timing coincidental?
A: The gum is just one more unfortunate example of the trend to add caffeine to food. Our concern is about caffeine appearing in a range of new products, including ones that may be attractive and readily available to children and adolescents, without careful consideration of their cumulative impact.
 
One pack of this gum is like having four cups of coffee in your pocket. Caffeine is even being added to jelly beans, marshmallows, sunflower seeds and other snacks for its stimulant effect.
 
Meanwhile, "energy drinks" with caffeine are being aggressively marketed, including to young people. An instant oatmeal on the market boasts that one serving has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, and then there are similar products, such as a so-called "wired" waffle and "wired" syrup with added caffeine.
 
The proliferation of these products in the marketplace is very disturbing to us.
 
Q. What is your first step in this process?
A. We have to address the fundamental question of the potential consequences of all these caffeinated products in the food supply to children and to some adults who may be at risk from excess caffeine consumption. We need to better understand caffeine consumption and use patterns and determine what is a safe level for total consumption of caffeine. Importantly, we need to address the types of products that are appropriate for the addition of caffeine, especially considering the potential for consumption by young children and adolescents.
 
We've already met with some companies to hear their rationale for adding caffeine to varied products and to express our concern. We've also reached out to the American Beverage Association, which represents the non-alcoholic beverage industry, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents food, beverage and consumer-products companies.
 
Q. What is currently considered a safe amount of daily caffeine?
A. For healthy adults FDA has cited 400 milligrams a day—that's about four or five cups of coffee—as an amount not generally associated with dangerous, negative effects. FDA has not set a level for children, but the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the consumption of caffeine and other stimulants by children and adolescents. We need to continue to look at what are acceptable levels.
 
We're particularly concerned about children and adolescents and the responsibility FDA and the food industry have to protect public health and respect social norms that suggest we shouldn't be marketing stimulants, such as caffeine, to our children.
 
Q. What currently are FDA requirements concerning caffeine being added to foods?
A. Manufacturers can add it to products if they decide it meets the relevant safety standards, and if they include it on the ingredient list. While various uses may meet federal food safety standards, the only time FDA explicitly approved adding caffeine was for colas in the 1950s. Existing rules never anticipated the current proliferation of caffeinated products.
 
Q. Is it possible that FDA would set age restrictions for purchase?
A. We have to be practical; enforcing age restrictions would be challenging. For me, the more fundamental questions are whether it is appropriate to use foods that may be inherently attractive and accessible to children as the vehicles to deliver the stimulant caffeine, and whether we should place limits on the amount of caffeine in certain products.
 
Q. Have you taken any actions on other caffeinated products?
A. In 2010, we brought about the withdrawal from the market of caffeinated alcoholic beverages, primarily malt beverages, in part because of studies indicating that combined ingestion of caffeine and alcohol may lead to hazardous and life-threatening situations. Caffeine can mask some of the sensory cues that people might normally rely on to determine their level of intoxication.
 
Q. Don't new regulations take a lot of resources and time?
A. They do. But we believe that some in the food industry are on a dubious, potentially dangerous path. If necessary, and if the science indicates that it is warranted, we are prepared to go through the regulatory process to establish clear boundaries and conditions on caffeine use. We are also prepared to consider enforcement action against individual products as appropriate.
 
However, we hope this can be a turning point for all to prevent the irresponsible addition of caffeine to food and beverages. Together, we should be immediately looking at what voluntary restraint can be used by industry as FDA gets the right regulatory boundaries and conditions in place.
 
I'm hopeful that industry will step up.
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by the Food and Drug Administration
Photo provided by the FDA

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
1 DOW 18,232.02
-53.72 (-0.29%)    
2 S&P 2,126.06
-4.76 (-0.22%)    
3 NASDAQ 5,089.36
0.00 (0.00%)    
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

May 22, 2015 7015

Madisonville Man Charged with First-Degree Rape

by SurfKY News
May 23, 2015 6603

Missing 5-Year-Old Boy Found

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
May 19, 2015 6289

Owensboro Health Proposes Building $15M Health…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
May 19, 2015 4170

Two Charged with Marijuana Possession after…

by SurfKY News
May 20, 2015 3485

Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park Holding Beach…

by Gil Lawson

Most Read This Month

May 15, 2015 10651

New Madisonville Business In Full Operation Soon

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 15, 2015 7479

Investigation of Local Barber Shop Leads to Drug…

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

May 25, 2015 2910

Can Sunscreen Save Your Life?

by Melissa Patrick
May 25, 2015 1666

UPDATE - MPD Seeks Three in Residential Robbery

by SurfKY News
May 24, 2015 1352

MCC's Felicia Johnson Receives State KCTCS Award

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 25, 2015 1240

Hopkins Man Injured in Muhlenberg Motorcycle…

by SurfKY News
May 23, 2015 1138

'Cooking for the Cure' Fundraiser Brings Out…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 25, 2015 823

Damascus Road House Leads Young People to Christ

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 24, 2015 800

Reading Solutions Offers Students a Hand in…

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
May 25, 2015 748

Seniors Celebrate with Cook-out, Games, Fellowship

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 24, 2015 687

Caldwell County Native Helping Unwrap Secrets of…

by Whitney Harder
May 24, 2015 571

Prosecutors from Kentucky, Tennessee to Attend…

by Leland Hulbert