Federal regulators are being urged to look into a “snortable chocolate” powder that is now being sold. Food and Drug Administration has been asked to investigate the use of caffeine in inhalable food products, such as a new product released as Coco Loko.
Coco Loko is marketed as “raw cacao snuff.” The product is made using cacao powder, created from the beans used in making chocolate. According to news reports, it also contains some common energy-drink ingredients and caffeine. The manufacturer Legal Lean Co. doesn’t detail all of the ingredients online. Legal Lean is an Orlando-based nutrition company that makes dietary supplements.
Legal Lean sells Coco Loko online for $19.99 for a 1.25-ounce tin. The product is already available on Amazon, on Legal Lean’s website, and in some liquor stores. Founder Nick Anderson has said he didn’t consult any medical professionals before releasing the product, but believes Coco Loko is safe.
Instructions for the product say consumers should snort the powder directly into their noses. No other food product has ever been marketed or approved to be inhaled. A disclaimer at the bottom of Legal Lean’s website tells potential buyers that its products are not intended for children or pregnant women and to “consume responsibly.” The product has gotten a lot of buzz in recent weeks.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is worried that it could prove harmful. He said that snorting substances on a continuous basis can lead to a weaker immune system, cold-like symptoms, and damage to the lining of the nose. The company’s claims that the product will enhance feelings of well-being and mental focus haven’t been vetted by the FDA. Schumer said, “This suspect product has no clear health value.”
The senator is also concerned about the product being marketed like a drug. The New York Democrat said in a statement, “I can’t think of a single parent who thinks it is a good idea for their children to be snorting over-the-counter stimulants up their noses.” Schumer said, “I call this product ‘cocaine on training wheels’ … I’m asking the FDA to snuff it out immediately.”
Schumer says there are too many unanswered questions about these types of products. An FDA investigation would set out to determine the full effects that products like Coco Loko have on the human body.
The agency reports it hasn’t yet determined whether it has authority to regulate snortable chocolate. A statement from the FDA says, “The FDA is not prepared to issue a determination regarding whether and how this product is subject to FDA jurisdiction at this time. In reaching that decision, FDA will need to evaluate the product labeling, marketing information, and/or any other information pertaining to the product’s intended use.”