Government review after Lachlan Foote’s deathJuly 10, 2019
The government has ordered an urgent review of the open sale of pure caffeine powder in Australia following the freak overdose death of a young man from New South Wales.
As reported by news.com.au on Monday, Lachlan Foote collapsed on the bathroom floor of his family’s Blackheath home and never regained consciousness after making himself a protein drink that contained powdered caffeine.
Just one teaspoon of the extremely potent but legal and widely available substance — popular among fitness enthusiasts — is enough to kill.
“If the pure powder form of caffeine could be banned from public sale, that would be a good step to change,” Lachlan’s father Nigel told news.com.au. “It’s way too dangerous.”
Following his plea, supported by news.com.au, the government has ordered a probe of the ready availability of pure and high caffeine products.
Senator Richard Colbeck, who has oversight of Food Standards Australia New Zealand, together with Health Minister Greg Hunt, have called for an investigation.
They wrote to FSANZ boss Mark Booth, saying: “I am writing in relation to the tragic death of a young man in New South Wales, Mr Lachlan Foote. Mr Foote’s death was attributed to acute caffeine toxicity associated with the consumption of a caffeine powder.”
The review will examine the current regulations surrounding the sale of such products and whether appropriate warning labels and consumer safety information should be carried on them.
A response, including “preliminary recommendations for strengthening regulations and consumer warnings”, is due by the end of August.
The letter concludes: “I appreciate your support in protecting Australians from dangers such as these.”
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Nigel welcomed the news, sparked after his family’s tragic story made global headlines and prompted an outpouring of grief and support from thousands of people on social media.
“It’s very encouraging to hear of the immediate response from the Government in regard to the regulation of pure caffeine powder. We are grateful to Ministers Richard Colbeck and Greg Hunt for taking our concerns to the relevant food authorities so promptly.
“Dawn and I would like to thank everybody who shared my facebook post on Sunday which brought the issue to the attention of the media in the first place.”
Lachlan was just 21 when he died on New Year’s Day in 2018 — a day before his birthday — after mixing a shake with protein and pure caffeine powder.
An expert warned just one teaspoon of the powder could be deadly.
“A teaspoon of pure caffeine contains around about four grams of caffeine, which is in the zone where you could expect toxicity,” Dr Ian Musgrave said, a molecular pharmacologist and lecturer at Adelaide Medical School.
Mr Foote’s family has only just received a Coroner’s report that revealed the cause of his death was acute caffeine…