Are Homemade Energy Drinks Dangerous? FDA Warns Of Risks Of Powdered Caffeine

If you're someone who prefers the jolt of an energy drink over the wakeup call of a morning cup of coffee, you may want to pay attention. The FDA has recently sent out warning letters to five producers of powdered caffeine, claiming that the product, when mixed with beverages, is "potentially dangerous" and presents a "significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury."

Powdered caffeine is usually sold for people to mix into water or sports drinks to make their own homemade energy drinks. However, according to the FDA, just one teaspoon of pure powdered caffeine is equal to 28 cups of coffee, and a tablespoon could result in death.

"People assume something this dangerous would not be sold to consumers in this form," Laura MacCleery, the center's regulatory affairs director, told The New York Times. "They are used to seeing warning labels and childproof caps on aspirin. And this is just a zip-lock bag."

"It is unclear why your product label provides the information that one-quarter teaspoon of your product is 574 milligrams, since this amount is well in excess of the serving size that your label recommends," the FDA wrote in a letter to the caffeine powder company SmartPowders.

The warnings were prompted by the deaths of two teenagers earlier this year, both of whom died after consuming too much powdered caffeine.