“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 M. Sharfstein, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner in a written statement. “To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern.”…
An article in today’s New York Times includes a remark by Jaisen Freeman, a founder and the managing partner of Phusion Projects, which manufactures Four Loko, the caffeinated alcoholic beverage that has been banned (so far) in three states because of its demonstrated high potential for alcohol overdose and poisoning.
He stated, “We still believe that combining caffeine and alcohol is safe – if that weren’t the case, Irish coffees and rum and colas would be under scrutiny as well.”
The fact is — and we can assume that Mr. Freeman knows this as well as anyone — a 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko at 12% alcohol contains five times as much alcohol (2.82 ounces) as the average rum and coke or Irish coffee. (The 6% version contains only two-and-a-half time as much.) And, while even a heavy drinker might take two or more hours to consume five drinks, the sweetened “alcopop” Four Loco is frequently chugged, and nearly always finished in far less time than that.
So, is Mr. Freeman simply ignorant about the stuff he produces, or is he — ah — bending the “facts” to his own purposes? You be the judge.
Michigan has banned all alcoholic, caffeinated energy drinks from being sold in the state after nine Washington college students were hospitalized last month after consuming Four Loko, known as “blackout in a can.”
Reversing its earlier approval, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission yesterday banned Four Loko and 54 similar fruity, high-caffeine, high-alcohol drinks, Detroit Free Press reports. Other banned drinks include Joose and Smirnoff Raw Tea. Manufacturers have 30 days to remove their products from stores.
Everything Addiction, a good source for information about alcohol and drug addiction, has a good post today about the trend toward caffeinated alcoholic beverages, the dangers involved, and the long-overdue effort to get them off the shelves.
…colleges across the nation are realizing…a new threat to student health that has gained widespread popularity:manufactured caffeinated alcoholic beverages. These drinks contain added caffeine content and other energy-boosting ingredients (much like energy drinks) but are already combined with alcohol, often in excessive amounts. These caffeine-alcohol concoctions come from a variety of smaller brewing companies—one in particular known as Phusion Projects which produces 23.5-ounce alcoholic energy drinks called Four, Four Loko, and Four Maxed. [These beverages] contain 156 milligrams of caffeine (1.5 times more caffeine than an 8-oz. cup of coffee) and 12% alcohol (2.82 oz.)—the equivalent of nearly six bottled beers—in a single can intended for 2.5 servings. The appealingly colorful, graphically designed cans blend in with other soft drinks on convenience store shelves, often leading to confusion about their dangerous potential, and are highly accessible to young drinkers at the affordable price of $2.50…. More>>>