FDA Caffeine Investigation May Lead To Regulation

If you just shuddered some, it’s probably not just a caffeine crash hitting you late this afternoon. It might be over the Food and Drug Administration’s new investigation into caffeine, which some coffee aficionados fear may lead to eventual regulation of your morning starting pistol.

The FDA’s caffeine investigation is meant to study “particularly its effects on children and adolescents,” but the federal regulatory body skips a few steps straight into 1984 with it’s ambiguous preparation “to go through the regulatory process to establish … conditions on caffeine use.”

“We have to be practical; enforcing age restrictions would be challenging. For me, the more fundamental questions are whether it is appropriate to use foods that may be inherently attractive and accessible to children as the vehicles to deliver the stimulant caffeine, and whether we should place limits on the amount of caffeine in certain products.”

Thanks, Michelle Obama!

In all seriousness, this could be kind of scary to coffee lovers everywhere, and hell, coffee businesses everywhere. Though people will always purchase a cup of brew no matter how taxed or regulated it is (it’s like gasoline that way), caffeine restrictions could have dramatic implications for the market.

We might just be looking at something basic like an FDA-imposed age limit on caffeine to keep 7-year-olds from getting their hands on a mocha frappe. Additionally, the FDA’s true target seems to be energy drinks and bizarre product hybrids moreso than coffee.

Problematically, “‘energy drinks’ with caffeine are being aggressively marketed, including to young people. An instant oatmeal on the market boasts that one serving has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, and then there are similar products, such as a so-called ‘wired’ waffle and ‘wired’ syrup with added caffeine. … The proliferation of these products in the marketplace is very disturbing to us.”

What should we make of this? Depends on where you’re sitting. This might read excessive Bloomberg-esque government nanny state intervention to you, or maybe you figure that the FDA caring about how caffeine, which is a drug, is marketed to children.

Either way, I see thousands of college students desperately clutching a cuppa screaming “when you pry it from my jittery, caffeinated fingers!”

Do you think the FDA should regulate caffeine?

[Image via: somchaij, Shutterstock]