Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

FDA to Investigate Added Caffeine and Effects on Your Children

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

© 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 by using one of the social media links below.

button coupons
button classifieds

Most Read This Week

January 18, 2015 9513

Cholesterol Levels May Not Have Same Relationship…

in Top News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 19, 2015 8596

Two-Year-Old Child Dies after Being Struck by…

in Top News For All Sites by Paul Ray
January 19, 2015 8485

UPDATE - Lady Mustangs Fall to South Warren

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Steve LeMaster
January 22, 2015 6683

Nortonville Man Accused of Selling Drugs near…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 19, 2015 6613

Muhlenberg Board of Education Special Called…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Sherri Miller
January 23, 2015 6588

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Top News For All Sites by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 20, 2015 6328

Bridal, Prom, Pageant Expo Planned for February…

in Hopkins News by Dana Brown
January 18, 2015 5688

KSP Investigating Officer Involved Shooting In…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper S. C. Recke
January 23, 2015 5139

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 21, 2015 4973

KYDOT Pre-Treating Roads Thursday in Antipation…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd

Stories Trending Today

January 23, 2015 6588

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Top News For All Sites by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 5139

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 23, 2015 3788

Nortonville Woman Charged for Meth Possession

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 23, 2015 2528

Woman Injured When Vehicle Leaves Road, Strikes…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper S.C. Recke
January 23, 2015 2455

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 23, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 23, 2015 2292

Free Ballroom Dance Lessons Begin

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 2160

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
January 23, 2015 2033

Next School Board Meeting Moved in Anticipation…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Muhlenberg County Board of Education
January 23, 2015 1934

Accused Ferrell’s Robber Moves from Hospital to…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 1850

Senator Wendell Ford to Lie in State in Capitol…

in Top News For All Sites by Office of the Governor

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flr subscribevideoitunessocial rss