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FDA limited in efforts to ban powdered caffeine

Residents in Louisiana may be familiar with caffeine sources such as coffee or energy drinks. However, they may not be aware of a potentially dangerous form of caffeine that is created in a lab and sold online. While caffeine is only mildly addictive and safe in moderate doses, powdered caffeine can be deadly. Despite this fact, the Food and Drug Administration is limited in what it can do to outright ban the product.

This is because the FDA can only ban products or remove them from the market after proving that they are dangerous when used as directed. In many cases, manufacturers are telling consumers that the product can be deadly in small doses. Warning labels also say that statements have not been verified by the FDA. So far, the FDA has published blog posts warning consumers about the dangers of the product.

Those who want the product taken off of the shelf believe that the FDA hasn't done enough. Consumer advocates have expressed concern that people could die from the substance without a medical examiner knowing how to detect it. However, the FDA did send warning letters to four marketers of the product, which led to those companies taking it off the market. This was done under the FDA's authority under the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.

Those who have been injured after using a product as directed may wish to talk to a personal injury lawyer. A product liability case may seek compensation from the company that made the product or others who may have created misleading marketing materials for the product. Compensation may be awarded to compensate a victim for medical bills and potential lost wages due to the injury preventing an individual from working.

Source: US News, "FDA Hands Tied in Powdered Caffeine Abuse Cases", Kimberly Leonard, December 29, 2014

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