Pure caffeine powder to be banned in the wake of Blackheath man Lachlan Foote's death

Pure and highly concentrated caffeine products will be banned, following the death on January 1, 2018 of Blackheath man Lachlan Foote.

The news was welcome relief for Lachlan's dad Nigel Foote.

"Lachlan was a kind, generous, caring young man and he would love to know that his death will save others. A legacy for Lachlan, always with us in the sunrise and the stars," Mr Foote said.

"Highly caffeinated products are an international problem, and the sooner people are educated about the associated health risks, the better."

In July, the NSW Coroner found the 21-year-old had died from caffeine toxicity. Lachlan's family believe that he innocently added too much pure caffeine powder to a protein shake after returning home on new year's eve, prompting Mr Foote to speak out on the dangers of the powder.

He said he felt morally bound to act.

"I thought what if one of Lachlan's friends has got some of this stuff. I felt morally bound to do something about this," Mr Foote said.

"It's a legacy for Lachlan. His death will end up saving other people."

The federal government today (September 20), said it would be banning pure caffeine powder and the sale of pure and highly concentrated caffeine food products, after receiving a report on the safety of these products.

"Lachlan Foote's death was an absolute tragedy and our government is determined to prevent something like this occurring again," said Richard Colbeck, the minister responsible for food regulation.

"The dangers of pure caffeine powder cannot be underestimated.

"Pure caffeine products can contain the maximum recommended daily dose of caffeine in 1/16th of a teaspoon, with a potentially fatal dose - the equivalent of between 25 to 50 cups of coffee - in a single teaspoon," Mr Colbeck said.

He said the average "safe" quantity of pure caffeine products could not be accurately measured on standard kitchen scales.

The proposed ban would not affect caffeinated products such as coffee, energy drinks, cola drinks and sports foods, which have much lower concentrations of caffeine.

The ban will be accompanied by an education campaign to ensure that people, particularly young people, are not unwittingly harming themselves with a supplement they believe to be safe.

"Australians are also reminded to be cautious about the products they may be purchasing from overseas or online, which may not be safe," Mr Colbeck said.


In July Mr Colbeck and Health Minister Greg Hunt wrote to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) requesting a review into the safety of caffeine powders and high caffeine content food products. Mr Colbeck has accepted all the recommendations of this review.

FSANZ will now work closely with the appropriate agencies and jurisdictions in implementing the recommendations.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has also taken steps to limit the risk of accidental overdose of caffeine, including new restrictions on the concentration of pure caffeine allowed in listed medicines.

"I acknowledge the work of Lachlan Foote's family and friends, as well as the NSW Coroner and FSANZ, and I sincerely hope that this action will prevent such tragedies occurring again," Mr Colbeck said.

Mr Foote said their family appreciated the prompt response to their concerns about pure caffeine powder.

"Our family would like to thank Senator Richard Colbeck, Minister Greg Hunt, Susan Templeman MP, and the media for their prompt response to our concerns about pure caffeine powder - plus all our Facebook friends who shared my caffeine warning post. This wouldn't have happened without them. This has been a great example of the power of social media," he said.

Macquarie MP Susan Templeman said: "I'm really thrilled the government has responded to the pleas of the Foote family and I've been pleased to support their efforts for action in recent weeks.

"I spoke about this issue last week in Parliament and I appreciated the minister ringing me this week to advise of the decision, and I thanked him for the speedy response.

"I know we all hope this change saves lives and Nigel and Dawn are to be congratulated."