EINNEWS, November 16—Pressure is growing on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to take action against energy drinks that combine alcohol and caffeine.
The FDA a year ago said it would review whether such drinks are safe or legal but has not formally intervened. But a spate of deaths and hospitalizations of those consuming the drinks has prompted a number of states to act on their own.
The FDA has the authority to determine whether a product is safe to consume but an action to disapprove requires scientific evidence, which the FDA apparently does not consider sufficient to ban the products outright.
Meanwhile the manufacturer of the product most in question, Four Loko, has agreed not to distribute in New York state after being pressured by the governor and other New York authorities.
Distribution will stop December 10. The state’s distributors have said they will also halt delivery of other alcohol-caffeine drinks.
Four Loko is sold in fruit flavors like blue raspberry and lemon-lime, has an alcohol content of multiple regular beers and the caffeine found in a large Starbucks coffee.
Many authorities say that the alcohol-caffeine is dangerous because users get more intoxicated but fail to realize it because of the affects of the caffeine. The fruit flavor also hides the impact of the combination and encourages more consumption.
The drinks have been particularly popular on college campuses where most of the health problems have been identified.
Phusion Projects, a Chicago company founded by college students in 2005, makes Four Loko and insists that the product is no different from drinking a few glasses of wine with dinner and having coffee afterward.
Washington state, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Oklahoma have all acted to remove alcohol-caffeine drinks from shelves in their states.
For more beverages news, visit Beverage Industry Today (http://beverages.einnews.com), a beverages media monitoring service from EIN News.