On 15 January 2015, the European Food Safety Authority published its draft Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine. EFSA was asked to provide advice on a daily intake of caffeine, from all sources, that does not give rise to concerns about harmful effects to health for the general population and for specific subgroups of the population. Possible interactions between caffeine and other constituents of so-called “energy drinks”, alcohol, synephrine and physical exercise should also be addressed. In its draft opinion, EFSA considers concerns raised in relation to caffeine consumption in the following circumstances and age groups:

  • caffeine consumption during pregnancy, and adverse health effects on the foetus;
  • acute and long-term effects of caffeine consumption on the central nervous system (e.g. sleep, anxiety, behavioural changes) in adults, adolescents, and children;
  • long-term adverse effects of caffeine consumption on the cardiovascular system in adults;
  • acute effects of caffeine consumption in “energy drinks” and risk of adverse health effects in adolescents and adults involving the cardiovascular and central nervous systems, particularly when consumed within short periods of time, at high doses, and in combination with alcohol and/or physical exercise;
  • acute effects of caffeine in combination with synephrine on the cardiovascular system.

The draft opinion concludes that "Single doses of caffeine up to 200 mg (about 3 mg/kg bw) from all sources do not raise safety concerns for the general adult population" and that "Caffeine intakes from all sources up to 400 mg per day (about 5.7 mg/kg bw per day) do not raise safety concerns for adults in the general population, except pregnant women", for whom the safety limit was established at 200 mg per day. With regard to energy drinks constituents, EFSA stated that "taurine, D-glucurono-γ-lactone or alcohol are unlikely to adversely interact with caffeine". For children and adolescents, EFSA states that "the information available is insufficient to base a safe level of 19 caffeine intake. The Panel considers that caffeine intakes of no concern derived for acute consumption in adults 20 (3 mg/kg bw per day) may serve as a basis to derive daily caffeine intakes of no concern for children and 21 adolescents. 

On 5 March 2015, EFSA will present the draft opinion during a stakeholders scientific meeting in Brussels. The draft opinion is currently subject to public consultation which is open until 15 March 2015. Interested parties may submit comments on the EFSA's website.