The National Academies’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) has issued the summary from an August 5-6, 2013, workshop titled “Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements.” Convened at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, workshop participants included “scientists with expertise in food safety, nutrition, pharmacology, psychology, toxicology, and related disciplines; medical professionals with pediatric and adult patient experience in cardiology, neurology, and psychiatry; public health professionals; food industry representatives; regulatory experts; and consumer advocates.” They addressed the “changing caffeine landscape” in which new food and dietary supplement products including the substance are entering the marketplace at a rapid pace and may be “targeting populations not normally associated with caffeine consumption.”

Among the workshop objectives were (i) “[e]valuate the epidemiological, toxicological, clinical, and other relevant literature to describe important health hazards associated with caffeine consumption”; (ii) “[d]elineate vulnerable populations who may be at risk from caffeine exposure”; (iii) “[d]escribe caffeine exposure and risk of cardiovascular and other health effects on vulnerable populations, including additive effects with other ingredients and effects related to pre-existing conditions”; (iv) “[e]xplore safe caffeine exposure levels for general and vulnerable populations”; and (v) “[i]dentify data gaps on caffeine stimulant effects, including but not limited to cardiovascular, central nervous system, or other health outcomes.”

Monster Beverage, Inc. medical advisor Bob Arnot provided public comments during the workshop and reportedly noted that the evidence on how little caffeine adolescents and children actually consume was striking. He also observed that the alleged adverse effects experienced by adolescents who consumed caffeinated energy drinks were not necessarily causally associated with that consumption.

Issue 510

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