IN 1911, UNDER AUTHORITY GRANTED BY THE RECENTLY enacted Food and Drug Act, US agents seized 40 kegs and 20 barrels of Coca-Cola syrup in Chattanooga, Ten- nessee.1,2 The group, led by chief chemist Harvey Wi- ley, considered the caffeine in Coca-Cola to be a significant public health hazard (both cocaine and alcohol had been removed from the recipe in the previous decade). The case continued for years. Eventually Coca-Cola decreased the caf- feine content in this product and legal action was dropped.3
In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is again investigating a caffeine-containing product, the “energy drink,” because of safety concerns. Several types of these caffeinated drinks are linked to unexpected deaths in ap- parently healthy persons, raising calls for closer scrutiny and possible regulation.