Importers of high dose caffeine products on notice

Anyone who knowingly tries to import pure and highly concentrated caffeine products into the country for retail sale could face up to 10 years jail if convicted.

Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, said it was an offence to import food into Australia that posed a risk to human health.

“Our government has amended imported food legislation to target and prevent entry of pure and highly concentrated caffeine products, intended for retail sale,” Minister McKenzie said.

“This is in support of Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s (FSANZ) action to amend the Code to ban the retail sale of these products, which are a threat to human health.

“The ban applies to food intended for retail sale where total caffeine is present at a concentration of five per cent or more in solid or semi-solid foods, like powders, or one per cent or more if the food is in liquid form.

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“This is a significant dose at which the risk of serious health effects start to increase and should not be available for retail sale—let alone be allowed into Australia.

“The safety of Australians is paramount and that’s why I have amended the Imported Food Control Order 2019 to classify pure and highly concentrated caffeine products as risk food.

“It is an offence to import food into Australia that poses a risk to human health. Importers who knowingly import food into Australia that poses a risk to human health can face a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment.”

The Government tightened regulations following the death last year of a New South Wales man that was attributed to acute caffeine toxicity associated with the consumption of a caffeine powder product.

Minister McKenzie said the ban would not affect caffeinated products like coffee, energy or cola drinks, which had much lower concentrations, or the import of commercial quantities by manufacturers for use as ingredients in these types of products.

FSANZ will soon be starting a campaign to educate Australian consumers about the risks of pure and highly concentrated caffeine products and the dangers of purchasing these products online.