The Council for Responsible Nutrition has issued recommended guidelines for dietary supplement products containing caffeine, including energy drink products marketed as supplements.

According to the council, the guidelines expand “its self-regulatory initiatives that encourage best practices within the supplement industry and promote safe use of dietary supplements by consumers.” Council President and CEO Steve Mister said, “This is one example of how responsible companies in our industry are taking proactive steps to educate consumers so they can make informed decisions about caffeine-containing supplements, and we trust consumers will be mindful of the amounts of caffeine they are getting from all sources.”

The guidelines recommend (i) the disclosure of total caffeine content for products with added caffeine in amounts more than 25 mg per serving, “declared in milligrams per serving either in the Supplement Facts Box or in a separate statement elsewhere on the label”; (ii) advisories for conditions of use, such as statements that products with more than 100 mg of caffeine per serving warn against use by “children and those sensitive to caffeine” and that “pregnant or nursing women, those with a medical condition, and those taking medication should consult a healthcare professional before use”; (iii) labeling information about serving size and daily intake recommendations; and (iv) restraint against marketing caffeinated products “in combination with alcohol, or to counter the acute or immediate effects of alcohol.”

According to the council, the guidelines took effect April 1, 2013, and dietary supplement makers are encouraged to comply with the guidelines for new product labels within 12 months. The Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing the safety of such products. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) received a letter from the agency in late 2012 in which it said, “it may be advisable for certain subpopulations, including children and pregnant women, to limit their caffeine consumption.” Durbin responded to reports about the new self-regulatory guidelines by stating that they “made sense but still will not protect our children. I feel that energy drink companies need to go further and stop marketing their products to children.” See Council for Responsible Nutrition News Release, April 3, 2013; Law360, April 4, 2013.