We're so excited and so scared about pure caffeine powder banned by FDA

Illustration for article titled We're so excited and so scared about pure caffeine powder banned by FDA
Screenshot: Funny Or Die (YouTube)

As Jessie Spano taught us all, high doses of caffeine are not the way to get ahead in life. The FDA has been concerned about highly concentrated caffeine powders and liquids for years, and has in the past issued warnings that urge consumers to avoid buying such products online. Just a teaspoon of pure caffeine is roughly equivalent to the amount of the stimulant in 28 cups of coffee, the agency says. Now it’s moved to outright ban some of these powders and liquids, CNBC reports, which are marketed directly to consumers and can contain thousands of doses of caffeine in a single package.


“Pure caffeine is a powerful stimulant and very small amounts may cause accidental overdose. Parents should be aware that these products may be attractive to young people,” the FDA said in its 2015 warning. Caffeine overdoses can lead to erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and disorientation. According to CNBC, two healthy adults ages 18 and 24 died of overdoses in 2014 after consuming caffeine powder.

But the new FDA ban doesn’t ban all concentrated caffeine; pills, tablets, and smaller quantities of the powder are still currently legal for sale. Some larger packages may also be permitted, as long as errors in measurement wouldn’t be enough to cause toxic reactions. When it comes to now-banned liquids and powders, minute errors in measurement could make the substance deadly. If you’re looking for that extra boost to make it through your Friday, may we suggest good old-fashioned coffee, or perhaps a power nap?

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.


Probably took years off of my life, but the only way I managed to goad myself through my third year of college was this nightmare jet fuel of 3:1 coffee/everclear blend with 500 mg of caffeine pills blended in, about two or three times a week. I swear to god, a 12 oz bottle of that stuff put you in another dimension entirely - hammered out a 2000 word midterm paper in under an hour and a half as my record. Caffeine powder absolutely works, but dear LORD do you feel like death incarnate on the comedown once you push 600 mg.

Disconcertingly enough, that year was my best, GPA wise. What a bad time to be alive.