alcoholic energy drink

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission took public comments on a proposed settlement with the alcohol company Phusion Projects, which makes a beverage line called Four Loko


You might recall in 2010 how that product gained much notoriety for sending scores of college students to the emergency room as a result of its dangerous combination of alcohol with caffeine. In a rare victory of government action in favor of public safety, in November 2010, the Food and Drug Administration forced Phusion and other companies to remove the caffeine. (Read my case study here.) But of course, the story

Continue Reading Beer Wholesalers Join Public Health to Oppose Four Loko Settlement

As of last week, the popular alcoholic energy drink Four Loko has met its demise.  The Food and Drug Administration sent a letter on Nov. 17 to manufacturers of alcoholic energy drinks stating that they found the combination of caffeine and alcohol in these drinks to be “unsafe.”

Not a surprising outcome when you consider the recent bans of the 12 percent ABV energy drink in states like Washington and New York.


Although the crackdown comes much to the delight of college administrators struggling to deal with at Four Loko-related mayhem, for others it has provoked accusations about the “nanny

Continue Reading Why the Crackdown on Four Loko is Justified

The Food and Drug Administration Wednesday warned four companies that the caffeine blended into their malt-alcohol beverages is an “unsafe food additive” and threatened to take action, including seizure of their products, to halt the sale of the drinks.

A similar warning was issued by the Federal Trade Commission, which said marketing such beverages “may constitute an unfair or deceptive practice.”  

Warning letters were sent to:

• Phusion Projects, which makes the top-selling Four Loko

• United Brands Company Inc., which makes Joose and Max

• Charge Beverages Corp., maker of Core High Gravity HG Green, Core High Gravity

Continue Reading Feds Declare Caffeinated Alcohol Drinks Unsafe

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to rule this week that caffeine is an unsafe food additive to alcoholic beverages, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced Tuesday.

The agency’s ruling will effectively prohibit the sale of controversial alcoholic energy drinks in the United States.  Schumer also announced that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plans to notify manufacturers that they are engaged in the potential illegal marketing of unsafe alcoholic drinks.

Late Tuesday, Phusion Projects, one of the drink makers most under scrutiny, announced  it will remove caffeine, guarana and tuaurine from its products nationwide.  According to a statement, it
Continue Reading FDA Moves to Ban Alcoholic Energy Drinks

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chairwoman of the FDA and Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, yesterday joined the chorus of lawmakers and public health officials calling for a serious look at alcoholic energy drinks, which have become extremely popular with young adults.

A recent slew of incidents involving Four Loko, a flavored, caffeinated malt liquor beverage widely known as “black-out in a can,” have raised questions about the safety of caffeinated alcoholic beverages.

“The medical evidence continues to mount that caffeinated alcoholic drinks, such as Four Loko, are dangerous–especially as they are specifically targeted to young people,” said DeLauro in a statement Monday.

Continue Reading DeLauro to FDA: Act on Alcoholic Energy Drinks

Washington has barred the sale of pre-mixed caffeinated alcohol beverages.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board voted unanimously Wednesday to impose a statewide ban on alcohol energy drinks similar to those already announced in Michigan, Oklahoma and Utah. Washington’s new rule takes effect Nov. 18.

Both Washington’s Democratic governor, Christine Gregoire, and its Republican attorney general, Rob McKenna, supported the emergency ban, which will be in place for 120 days while the liquor board works to make the rule permanent.

The action comes a month after nine Central Washington University students became seriously ill–one girl nearly died of alcohol

Continue Reading Washington Bans Caffeinated Alcohol Drinks

Michigan has joined Utah in banning the sale of alcohol drinks infused with caffeine and other stimulants.

The Michigan state Liquor Control Commission voted 2-1 Thursday to prohibit the sale of a long list of products that includes Phusion Projects Four Loko blends, United Brands Co. Joose and Max drinks, and Jack Daniels Country Cocktail. 

The commission’s decision followed recent reports from Washington and New Jersey of students being hospitalized after drinking caffeinated malt liquor.

Several universities now bar the sale of the controversial beverages and Pennsylvania’s liquor control board recently asked its licensees to voluntarily stop selling the drinks.

Continue Reading Michigan Bans Caffeine-Laced Alcohol Drinks