Feedback sought on proposal to prohibit sale of concentrated caffeine products

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Credit: Carolyn Franks

Public comment is being sought on a proposal to prohibit the retail sale of pure and highly concentrated caffeine products in Australia and New Zealand.

The proposal follows a review undertaken by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) in August which found the availability of pure caffeine for retail sale poses an “unacceptably high risk to consumers and should be prohibited”.

“Our risk assessment confirmed pure or highly purified forms of caffeine pose an unacceptably high risk to consumers. Ingestion of small amounts of these substances can result in severe health effects, including death,” said FSANZ CEO Mark Booth.

“In addition, the risk assessment has determined a maximum safe level for total caffeine in food should be set at less than 5% – unless there are existing permissions in the Code (i.e. energy drinks and cola drinks).

“Currently the Code does not expressly permit, prohibit or seek to regulate the retail sale of pure and highly concentrated caffeine food products generally.

“We are seeking to amend this to provide increased protection to consumers following the tragic death of 21-year-old New South Wales man from acute caffeine toxicity.”

All interested stakeholders must provide comments by 6pm (Canberra time) 14 November. According to Mr Booth, the feedback will be used to “determine next steps”.