Senator: Four Loko, Joose will be banned soon

By Dow Jones Newswires-Wall Street Journal
Posted Nov. 16, 2010 at 1:43 p.m.

Four Loko, Joose and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks will effectively be banned soon by federal regulators due to rising concerns that they are dangerous, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced Tuesday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is poised to rule that caffeine is an unsafe additive for alcoholic beverages, Schumer, a fierce critic of the products, said in a news release.

The Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, plans to notify manufacturers of the drinks that “they are engaged in the potential illegal marketing of unsafe alcoholic drinks,” Schumer’s release stated.

People familiar with the matter said the FDA is poised to make an announcement about the products as soon as Wednesday. An FDA spokesman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

The developments follow a spate of incidents in which college students and others have been hospitalized in states such as Washington and New Jersey after drinking Four Loko, a popular brand that comes in a 23.5-ounce can and contains up to 12 percent alcohol by volume, roughly the equivalent of four 12-ounce beers.

Phusion Projects LLC, the Chicago company behind Four Loko, has said it markets its products to adults and encourages responsible consumption.

In addition to a wave of cases of students being hospitalized after consuming the products, some deaths have been blamed on Four Loko. Washington, Michigan, Oklahoma and other states have banned the sale of caffeinated alcoholic drinks in recent weeks.

“Those incidents only prove what we have been saying for the last year, that the combination of alcohol and caffeine in a manufactured product is very dangerous,” said Dr. Mary Claire O’Brien, a Wake Forest University researcher who has studied the drinks.

“This ruling should be the nail in the coffin of these dangerous and toxic drinks,” said Schumer, a Democrat. “Parents should be able to rest a little easier.”

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One comment:

  1. Angela Davis Nov. 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    You can take the caffeine out of Four Loko but you can’t take the willingness to get blackout drunk away from high schoolers.