IOM Releases Report on Caffeine

<p>The Institute of Medicine (IOM) held a public workshop on caffeine in food and dietary supplements in August 2013, at the request of FDA, prompted by concern over the safety of caffeine. IOM published today the results of the workshop in a 150-page summary.</p>

WASHINGTONThe Institute of Medicine (IOM) held a public workshop on caffeine in food and dietary supplements in August 2013, at the request of FDA, prompted by concern over the safety of caffeine. IOM published today the results of the workshop in a 150-page summary.

In the summary, IOM did not make any recommendations on caffeine consumption, nor did it state a position on the matter. Instead, the workshop discussed the safety of caffeine in food and dietary supplementsincluding tea, coffee, carbonated soft drinks, and other productsand worked to identify potential gaps.

In addition, the workshop explored safe caffeine exposure levels and populations that may be at risk from caffeine exposure. Caffeine's effects on cardiovascular disease and on the central nervous system and behavior were also discussed, along with caffeine's interactions with other ingredients in foods and beverages.

"In the last ten years, the marketplace has seen an influx of caffeinated energy drinks and a wide range of foods with added caffeine," Michael Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement commenting on IOM's report. "It is apparent that caffeine is now appearing in a range of new foods and beverages."

In particular, FDA is concerned about the availability of caffeine and products containing caffeine available to children and adolescents, and whether caffeine poses a greater health risk to those populations. "We are especially concerned with products that may be attractive and readily available to children and adolescents, without careful consideration of their cumulative impact," Taylor said.

Caffeine has been generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by FDA in cola-type beverages since the 1950s. Since, FDA has removed alcoholic beverages containing caffeine from the market, due to associated risky behaviors. FDA has not further regulated the use of caffeine.

"The meetings allow us to take a close and thorough look at what is happening in the marketplace, how industry is proceeding with so-called innovation, what the science reveals about this area, and what actions, if any, might be necessary," said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg during the IOM workshop.

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