Any law on caffeine content?

The thread on caffeine-free Mountain Dew and how caffeine citrus soda was illegal in Canada made me think about U.S. law…is there one which limits caffeine content in food?

A cup of coffee has about 100mg of caffeine per 8 ounces. Could I legally market a soda that has, say 500mg per 8 ounces? Is there any limit?

Well, since vivarin and no-doze are legal I don’t see how they could put a limit on other products, both are pretty concentrated forms of caffiene.

I’ve always thought that the USDA set the limit at 100mg’s per serving.

Shit. It takes me twice that to make it through an hour of calculus class.

The legal limit in the United States for added caffeine in drinks is 6mg/ounce or 72mg to a can of soda.

Coke has 45mg per 12oz, Mountain Dew 55mg, and Jolt Cola maxes out the legal limit with 72mg per can. Since coffee is naturally caffeinated, it is not regulated for caffeine content. 12oz of coffee has around 120-350(!)mg of caffeine in it, depending on how it’s brewed.

I’m paraphrasing an article from the Nation, who I’d consider a credible source. It jives with research I did a while back when I wanted to know how much caffeine was in Red Bull (80mg per 12oz, but it comes in ~8oz cans).

One NoDoz tablet has 200mg of caffeine.


      • When Jolt first came out, it had the US gov’t limit for an artificial caffienated beverage. I dunno if it stll does.
  • When Water Joe (caffienated plain water!) came out, college students took to using it to make coffee ee e ee e ee e eee e… … - - – mMMM C Cc

Well, for No-Doz etc., the limit is 200mg per single dose. Anything higher requires a prescription. Most caffeine or “stack” pills therefore rend to have exactly 200mg caffeine in them- the best judge of strength isn’t the packaging, it’s the expiration date (I used to work at a GNC, so trust me on this one …)

Offhand, I have no idea if there’s a lower limit for “food”, but it would surprise me greatly if there were- as noted above, 8 oz of strong coffee has only 100 mg, so it’s not as if there’s much risk of overconsumption.

According to some market research reports I read way back when (sorry for being so vague), the legal limit for soft drinks (as of 1996) in the US was 72mg/serving. Jolt cola was at this limit.

The issue came up when one of the managers at the market consulting company I used to work for started wondering why canned coffee isn’t sold in America the way it is in Japan, even though coffee is so popular there (US). Although the main reason was that Japanese canned coffee tastes awful, caffeine restrictions in the US were a factor.


Whoops, someone else answered the OP while I was still typing. That’s what I get for starting a message, then walking away from the computer for an hour. Sorry.

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