Is there a legal limit for caffeine content?

The answer to that is it depends on the country. A few examples of laws related to caffeine content for food and drinks include the following:

In the United States there is a limit of 65mg of caffeine per 12 liquid ounce in beverages. This may only be for carbonated beverages. (What we call coke here in the south and my northern friends like to call pop.) There is also a limit of 200mg in pills such as Vivrin. For more info on caffeine contents in drinks check out  High Caffeine Pop from ‘Energy Drinks’ Revealed. Also check Ask Erowid for more specifics.

Here is the FDA regulation text:

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 21, Volume 3]
[Revised as of April 1, 2003]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 21CFR182.1180]

[Page 462]




Subpart B--Multiple Purpose GRAS Food Substances

Sec. 182.1180 Caffeine.

(a) Product. Caffeine.
(b) Tolerance. 0.02 percent.
(c) Limitations, restrictions, or explanation. This substance is
generally recognized as safe when used in cola-type beverages in
accordance with good manufacturing practice.

This text is available at the GPO web site. Essentially what this means is that for a drink or food to fall within the FDA’s guidelines 68 mgs per 12 oz is acceptable. Some drinks do have more. Most if not all energy drinks are legally classified as supplements. Supplements (vitamins and such) have a much lower oversight than food and drugs. Natural caffeine levels are also exempt from these regulations so coffee based drinks may have more caffeine than the limit without being classified as a supplement.

Australia has a limit of Australia 145mg of caffeine per liter for non-energy drinks which they refer to as “formulated caffeinated beverage” for legal purposes. Formulated caffeinated beverages can contain up to 320 mg/L of caffeine but not less than 145 mg/L of caffeine.

In parts of Northern Thailand it is completely illegal. It was outlawed as a precursor to meth.

29 thoughts on “Is there a legal limit for caffeine content?”

  1. legal limit per ounce?

    I can’t see how this is correct. In america, drinks like Starbucks Doubleshot have upwards of 21mg of caffeine per liquid oz.

    1. Legal Limit

      I would like to see where this law on the legal limit of caffeine is written since there are energy drinks which have over 312 mg per liquid oz.

      1. 312 mg? seriously? 2 ounces

        312 mg? seriously? 2 ounces of that and your blood pressure would be through the roof and your heart beating its way out of your chest

        1. wrong

          He/she is wrong nothing has that much caffeine per liquid ounce, he/she clearly doesn’t know how much a liquid ounce is. Im English and there doesn’t seem to ever be an energy drink with more than 32mg/100ml. I’m sure there is more in coffee but no way as much as that stated above, I think he is confusing ounce with litre

          1. pure caffeine

            pure caffeine is legal to buy in the uk i recently purchased 50g of it and ended up in hospital from a caffeine over dose so if you must buy it use it in moderation ppl pleease

          2. Gum

            There’s caffeine gum that contains 100mg per piece. used for military mainly but you can buy it here: And, it works!

          3. There are energy drinks with more than 32mg/100 ml. However the only one I have come across is being pulled because of it’s high caffiene content. Bodybuilding formulations are better as you used/alter amount as suits you, BUT you have to know what else is in these formulations (usually powder form) and how much is safe to take so as to minimise problems if you are a regular user.

      2. well, it’s right there…

        above on this page, it says “This text is available at the GPO web site.” that’s a link, I’d try it. I see what you’re saying, though. It’s amazingly annoying trying to find what the actual text of a law is, but this site apparently knows what they’re doing.

    2. ***Carbonated drinks….

      If you read the original post it says there is a legal limit on carbonated drinks…. That does not include Starbucks Doubleshot and other non-carbonated drinks like most energy drinks

    1. Pure Caffeine

      I cannot authoritatively answer this question. I can say that a number of body building oriented sites advertise what they claim is pure caffeine so it may be possible to purchase pure or near pure caffeine I the United states. According to the University of Bristol in the UK chemical supply companies cannot sell pure caffeine to individuals. I would not advise the use of pure caffeine in any but a carefully monitored environment. In pure form a small miscalculations of dose can be a big deal.

    2. yes you can, from chemical

      yes you can, from chemical dealers, but that may be a bit hard. but, if you have a basic to medium level knowledge of chemistry, you can extract it as a pure white powder from coffee and other plants that contain caffeine

      1. Pure Coffee is not food or drink anymore

        Yeah the last comment is right, if you have some knowledge in chemistry you can do it, or you can look on the net. But i would not advise using it as a drink though, pure coffee is not considered as food and can be quite dangerous if you take a good amount.

      2. I did some research on

        I did some research on caffeine last year, so I got some solid facts AND a response from the FDA themselves when I wrote a personalized letter to them talking about caffeine (took two months for a response).

        I wrote about how an energy drink Wired x505 contain(ed) 505mg of caffeine in an 18oz. drink…since then and my bringing it to their attention, it has been banned and only available in the UK (where it was originally released).

        I know some people will disagree with me in that it would be a “fun” drink, but its too dangerous.
        A standard lethal amount of caffeine is around 10g (for the average weight/size person). Having 1/20th of a lethal limit is just too risky and has bad affects on the human body.

        I have had the energy drink Cocaine (formerly known as No Name because it was have issues with its name) which has about 300mg of caffeine in a TWELVE (12) oz. drink…25mg/oz.
        That had me very wired, but the only reason that this much of a dosage can exist is because caffeine can be naturally extracted from gaurana, mate, and tea (known in pure caffeine form as guarananine, matiene, and theine)…which being in 3 different extracts but the same caffeine, causes flaws in the FDA’s regulation on caffeine doses.

        I am looking into getting some caffeine pills myself, I just need to find out if a 200mg caffeine pill is really a legitimate amount of caffeine to be affected by (if it is really 200mg of caffeine in a tablet)–I am getting these for some studying/activities I am going to do, in avoidance of pills like Ritalin or other small forms of speed because they are so addictive.

        That’s my input on the matter.

    3. Why would you want too? The

      Why would you want too? The human body can only absorb the caffeine in two cups of regular coffee per 24 hour period. The “high” associated with the chemical is very real. But the “act” of behaving hyper is all in your head. I will say that there is an energy drink out there that I like. It has an excellent amount of B and C vitamins in it and a reasonable amount of caffeine in it. It is made by Hansen’s company and is called Energy. It tastes good and keeps me up all day. With just one can.

      1. Coffee is not just an energy

        Coffee is not just an energy drink, it’s also addictive. I couldn’t possibly count my caffeine intake because I drink a lot of coffee although my doctor told me to be more careful. I recently read that coffee producers, tobacco producers have risen the addictive substance amount in their products so that they become more addictive. I sure hope this isn’t true…

      2. “The human body can only

        “The human body can only absorb the caffeine in two cups of regular coffee per 24 hour period.”

        I’m not sure where you heard that, but it’s absolutely false. If that were true, there would be no lethal dose for caffeine, however, there is and it’s 10 grams.

      3. Caffeine High a Placebo Effect?

        It’s not. I once did my math wrong and put enough instant coffee in turkish mocha that I ended up literally high, and the amount I thought I put in I know would do no such thing.

  2. In norway it is something

    In norway it is something like 150mg/liter… therfore many foreign energy drinks are illegal.. take the energy drink battery for an example.. norwegian sold version has about 150mg/liter… while the same drink sold other places have well above 150mg/liter!

    so there you have it..

  3. Caffeine Limit not so in the U.S

    according to SoBe’s website, they put 174 mg in 18 oz of “No Fear”, so the limit of 65mg per 12 oz is not accurate considering that I purchase them here in California all the time.

  4. caffeine limits

    In America, the FDA regulates the caffeine content in “sodas and colas” only, not commercial caffeinated beverages such as Starbucks products and energy drinks. A lethal dose of caffeine is 10 grams. There are, actually, energy drinks with over 312 mg/100 ml. Examples are Redline Power Rush, Mana Energy Potion, and Powershot. Many of these are only sold in small portions, however, due to the enormous caffeine content.

  5. respond

    If you’re in not good state and have no money to move out from that, you would need to receive the mortgage loans. Just because that would aid you emphatically. I take commercial loan every time I need and feel great because of it.

  6. amount of Caffeine permitted

    Could someone tell me what is the amount / level of caffeine is allowed/permitted in Malaysia and Singapore, and please give me information that I can rely on for e.g website, publication or etc.

    1. Excerpt from Malaysia Food

      Excerpt from Malaysia Food Regulation 1985-354 (3) “Flavoured drink may contain caffeine-containing plant extract as permitted flavouring substance in a proportion not exceeding 200mg/litre.” It’s the same as CODEX and EU limit if I’m not mistaken.

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