Companies have 15 days to address issue before Four Loko, others could face national ban
Fans of Four Loko, Joose and other alcoholic energy drinks will see some changes after the Food and Drug Administration declared the drinks unsafe Wednesday.
The FDA warned four companies that add caffeine to their malt beverages it is unsafe and they may be taken off shelves nationwide, according to a press release.
“FDA does not find support for the claim that the addition of caffeine to these alcoholic beverages is ‘generally recognized as safe,’ which is the legal standard,” said Joshua Sharfstein, Principal Deputy Commissioner in the press release. “To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern.”
Charge Beverages Corp.: Core High Gravity HG, Core High Gravity HG Orange and Lemon Lime Core Spiked
New Century Brewing Co., LLC: Moonshot
Phusion Projects, LLC (doing business as Drink Four Brewing Co.): Four Loko
United Brands Company Inc.: Joose and Max
The press release said adding caffeine to the drinks is associated with “risky behaviors that may lead to hazardous and life-threatening situations.”
It said companies have 15 days to create specific steps to stop the violation and prevent it from happening again.
It also noted the recent actions by Four Loko to take caffeine out of the beverage.
“FDA is aware that on November 16, Phusion Projects, LLC, the maker of Four Loko, announced its intention to remove caffeine and other stimulants from its drinks,” the press release said. “FDA views this announcement as a positive step.”
On Nov. 5 the drinks were given 30 days to be taken off shelves in Michigan by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
“We were concerned about the popularity increasing with college kids and the increase of underage drinking through these beverages,” commission spokeswoman Andrea Miller said on Nov. 5. “(The) Michigan Liquor Control Commission had to step in and make some changes.”
A portion of the drinks popularity could be due to their relatively low price.
At $2.29 they’re a bang for their buck when you’re getting 4 to 6 beers and a few cups of coffee out of it, said Katie Howland, manager at the Mission Store, 1022 S. Mission St.
“We sell Four Loko every day because it has always been such a popular beverage,” Howland said. “People have came in every so often to buy a case rather than just an individual one (Four Loko) but when students get back from Thanksgiving break there should be a lot more sold.”
Triple Deuce, 222 S. Washington St., does not carry a substantial amount of Four Loko or any other energy alcoholic drinks, said Manager Ngy Taing. He expects the drinks to be sold out by time the ban starts.
“A salesman tried to convince me to add more Four Loko to my variety of drinks and now I think I made the best choice,” he said.
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