FDA bans bulk sale of caffeine powder

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SMITHTOWN -

The Food and Drug Administration is banning the bulk sale of powdered caffeine.

Suffolk County lawmakers praised the move Thursday. They passed a countywide ban of sales to minors in 2014, after an 18-year-old from Ohio died of a caffeine overdose three days before his high school graduation.

Caffeine packaging lists a serving size as 1/16 of a teaspoon. One full teaspoon of the powder is the equivalent of about 28 cups of coffee. The FDA commissioner says the super-concentrated powders can be deceptively potent.

"I would get a heart attack if I drank that much coffee," says Mahhum Sajjad, a college junior.

Two Suffolk legislators, Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory and Dr. William Spencer, traveled to Washington to push for the ban.

"The FDA very rarely bans anything," says Spencer, a Huntington Democrat who testified before the FDA. "We researched back since the '90s. They've changed labeling on a couple of things, but with bans it's almost unheard of."

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