British Coffee Association - EFSA Scientific Opinion on the Safety of Caffeine
EFSA Scientific Opinion on the Safety of Caffeine

EFSA Scientific Opinion on the Safety of Caffeine

The British Coffee Association welcomes the European Food Safety Authority Scientific Opinion on caffeine

The British Coffee Association, as a member of the European Coffee Federation, welcomes the Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine published today by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).1
EFSA’s Scientific Opinion states “caffeine intakes from all sources up to 400 mg per day (about 5.7 mg/kg body weight per day for a 70-kg adult) consumed throughout the day do not give rise to safety concerns for healthy adults in the general population, except pregnant women” and that “single doses of caffeine up to 200mg (about 3 mg/kg of body weight for a 70-kg adult) do not give rise to safety concerns for adults in Europe”.1 The opinion judiciously considers the wealth of scientific research about the consumption of coffee and delineates between the consumption of coffee (which naturally contains caffeine) and other beverages.
Coffee is one of the most heavily researched products in the world today and the overwhelming weight of scientific information suggests that moderate coffee consumption (4-5 cups, 400mg of caffeine), can contribute to a healthy, balanced diet and may confer health benefits. For example, coffee consumed in moderation can improve alertness,2 sports performance,3 hydration levels4 and heart health.5,6 Coffee has also been shown to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes7, certain cancers8 and neurodegenerative diseases.9,10
EFSA’s Scientific Opinion also supports the evidence that consumption of caffeine of up 200mg per day poses no health risk to expectant mothers or their babies.1
Martin Wattam, Executive Director, British Coffee Association, comments “Coffee consumption is an important part of our culture in the UK, with over 70 million cups of coffee consumed every day. The British Coffee Association welcomes EFSA’s conclusion that moderate daily caffeine intake up to 400mg – equivalent to 4 to 5 cups of coffee – doesn’t raise any safety concerns for adult drinkers and may actually have some health benefits. It should be underlined that the 400mg figure is a recommendation for safe daily caffeine use, not a tolerable upper limit.”
EFSA’s other provisional findings include:1
  • Single doses of caffeine up to 200mg are considered safe for adults (18-65 years) also when consumed less than two hours before intense exercise.
  • For pregnant women, caffeine intakes of up to 200mg a day are considered safe for the foetus.
  • Single doses of caffeine up to 200mg and daily intakes of up to 200mg consumed by lactating women in the general population are considered safe for the breastfed infant.
  • Single doses of 100mg may increase sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep) and shorten sleeping time in some adults, particularly when consumed close to bedtime.
About the British Coffee Association
The British Coffee Association is the representative organisation for the coffee industry in the UK. Since 2008, we have actively followed and supported research on coffee and caffeine and provide balanced advice to healthcare professionals and members of the public as required. We are active in educating the public about the known health benefits of moderate coffee consumption.
For more information visit or follow us on Twitter @BritCoffAssoc To speak with an independent healthcare professional about the health effects of coffee consumption contact Red Door Unlimited via the contact details below:
020 8392 8040

1 EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies), 2015. Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine. EFSA Journal 2015;13(5):4102, 120 pp. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4102

2 Nehlig A (2010). J Alzheimers Dis, 20, S1: 85-94

3 Hodgson, A.B. et al (2013). PLoS One, 8(4): e59561

4 Killer, S.C. et al. (2014) PLOS ONE

5 Wu J. et al. Coffee consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of 21 prospective cohort studies. Int J Cardiol, 2009; 137: 216-225

6 De Koning Gans J.M. et al. Tea and coffee consumption and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol., 2010; 30:1665-1671

7 J K Lee et al (2015) Eur J of Endo, published online ahead of print8 WCRF (2014). Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer Accessed March 2015

9 Costa J et al. (2010) J Alzheimers Dis;20 Suppl 1:S221-38

10 Gelber RP et al. (2011) J Alzheimers Dis;23:607-15