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24 Sep 2019

The Federal Government has banned highly concentrated caffeine food products, including pure caffeine powder, for personal consumption.
The ban follows the tragic death of 21-year-old Lachlan Foote from acute caffeine toxicity.
Aged Care, Youth and Sports Minister Richard Colbeck commissioned a report into the safety of caffeine powders and high caffeine content products.
Senator Colbeck, who also has portfolio responsibility for Food Regulation, recently received the report and said the Government would accept all of its recommendations in an effort to prevent more avoidable deaths from the products.
“Lachlan Foote’s death was an absolute tragedy and our Government is determined to prevent something like this occurring again,” Senator Colbeck said.
“The dangers of pure caffeine powder cannot be underestimated. Pure caffeine products can contain the maximum recommended daily dose of caffeine in 1/16th of a teaspoon, with a potentially fatal dose – the equivalent of between 25 to 50 cups of coffee – in a single teaspoon.”
Senator Colbeck said the average safe quantity of pure caffeine products often could not be accurately measured on standard kitchen scales.
The ban is accompanied by an education campaign to get that message out and to ensure that people, particularly young people, are not unwittingly harming themselves with a supplement they believe to be safe.
“Australians are also reminded to be cautious about the products they may be purchasing from overseas or online, which may not be safe,” the Minister said.
In July, Senator Colbeck and Health Minister Greg Hunt wrote to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) requesting a review into the safety of caffeine powders and high caffeine content food products.
FSANZ will now work closely with the appropriate agencies and jurisdictions in implementing the recommendations.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has also taken steps to limit the risk of accidental overdose of caffeine, including new restrictions on the concentration of pure caffeine allowed in listed medicines.
“I acknowledge the work of Lachlan Foote’s family and friends, as well as the NSW Coroner and FSANZ, and I sincerely hope that this action will prevent such tragedies occurring again,” Senator Colbeck said.
The FSANZ review made five recommendations:

  • That FSANZ develop and declare as urgent a proposal to amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to prohibit the retail sale of pure and highly concentrated caffeine food products.
  • That FSANZ consider developing a maximum limit of caffeine in foods, based on the outcomes of the current review of Standard 2.9.4 – Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods.
  • That a coordinated inter-agency consumer information campaign on safe caffeine consumption be developed and implemented in conjunction with the implementation of recommendation one, if adopted.
  • That, prior to or in parallel with the consumer information campaign, guidance on the regulation of products containing pure or high concentrations of caffeine, and high caffeine content products, be developed by the Implementation Subcommittee for Food Regulation for, and agreed by, enforcement agencies to inform compliance action.
  • That targeted research on caffeine consumption across the Australian and New Zealand population, including consumption by specific vulnerable population groups, continue to be undertaken as part of the upcoming Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study.

The full review can be read at: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/CaffeineReport2019

 

 


Published: 24 Sep 2019