FDA issued a warning letter to Breathable Foods Inc., makers of AeroShot, for false or misleading statements in the labeling of their “caffeine inhaler.” FDA finds the labeling false or misleading because the company claims use for both inhalation and ingestion. Breathable Foods claims AeroShot is designed to provide “breathable energy, anytime, anyplace.” The company also claims that its product is intended to be ingested by swallowing. FDA states that a product cannot be intended for both inhaling and swallowing, noting that human anatomy does not permit simultaneous inhalation and ingestion.
FDA continues that, “By definition, dietary supplements must be intended for ingestion.” See FDCA §§ 201(ff)(2)(A) and 411(c)(1)(B) [21 U.S.C. §§ 321(ff)(2)(A) and 350(c)(1)(B)]. “A product intended for inhalation is not a dietary supplement.” Surprisingly, FDA did not state the consequence of failing to be a dietary supplement — as far as it is intended for caffeine inhalation, Aeroshot would be a drug and medical device. I cover this in my book, Food Regulation: Law, Science, Policy, and Practice, in discussion of the case, United States v. Ten Cartons of Ener-B Nasal Gel.
FDA is also concerned about AeroShot’s because of questions about its safety. Terms such as “caffeine inhaler” and “breathable energy” may encourage consumers to try to inhale AeroShot into their lungs. Caffeine is not normally inhaled into the lungs and the safety of doing so has not been well studied.
The FDA also expressed concern about the use of AeroShot by children and adolescents. The company’s website indicates that AeroShot is “not recommended for those under 18 years of age,” but the product label states that it is “not intended for people under 12.”
FDA is also concerned about AeroShot website links to news articles and videos that refer to use of the product in conjunction with drinking alcohol. While using caffeine when drinking may lead consumers to feel “less drunk,” it does not reduce blood alcohol levels. FDA states, “Data and expert opinion also indicate that caffeine decreases the perception of intoxication, meaning that individuals who consume caffeine along with alcohol may consume more alcohol than they otherwise would and become more intoxicated than they realize. At the same time, caffeine does not change blood alcohol content levels, and thus does not reduce the risk of harm associated with drinking alcohol.”
Neal Fortin is the author of Food Regulation: Law, Science, Policy, and Practice, and he is Professor and Director of the Michigan State University Institute for Food Laws and Regulations, where he teaches online courses in Food Regulation in the United States, International Food Law, and Codex Alimentarius.