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FDA Pressures Four Loko to Change, Drink Disappearing

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Caffeinated alcoholic drinks such as Four Loko are creating controversy in a can. Recently more and more U.S. college students were turning to the drink as a cheap and effective way to party and get drunk. Now the United States Food and Drug Administration has stepped in to apply pressure to drink manufacturers. The result is the quick disappearance of the product from store shelves. December 13th is fast approaching. This is the day Phusion Projects LLC stated it would completely remove its product Four Loko from the market.  

Local stores in Central Florida recently stopped selling Four Loko

What is creating all the controversy and commotion? 

Four Loko is advertised in bright and colorful twenty-three ounce cans complete with more than 8 separate flavors. Depending on state laws, the drink can contain as much as 12 percent alcohol by volume. High amounts of malt liquor are paired with high amounts of caffeine, tuarine, and guarana which the FDA says are unsafe food additives when mixed with alcohol. Four Loko makers place a small price tag of only several dollars on the product and the result is a near perfect storm of dangerous ingredients that in many cases promote alcohol abuse and underage drinking.

The Four Loko brand created national headlines when nine freshman at Central Washington University were hospitalized after drinking large quantities of the beverage at an off-campus party. Since the incident, state lawmakers in Washington, Michigan, Massachusetts and Utah hoped to ban the drink completely. In response to numerous incidents across the country the FDA sent letters of warning to four separate makers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages. The agency utilized an independent study to determine how dangerous Four Loko and other such beverages are. Experts in Toxicology and Emergency Medicine helped the FDA conclude the combination of high amounts of caffeine and alcohol poses a public health concern. Under intense pressure from the FDA, makers of Four Loko, Joose, and Moonshot decided to temporarily remove the products from the market. Many store owners are noting an increase in Loko purchases since the announcement. Many students plan to stock up on the last of the product and even sell it off to their peers for profit at a much higher price.

The state of Florida did not take any action on Four Loko before the FDA stepped in. At the University of Central Florida officials say there have only been several recorded instances of underage drinking with Four Loko. Students on campus gave a wide range of responses when asked about the FDA decision on these drinks. Some argued the agency’s move was a good idea because of the potential for alcohol abuse with the product. Others said that it should be up to people of legal age to be able to make their own choices and the government may in fact be intruding with this new policy.   

Local store customers can no longer buy drinks with alcohol and caffeine.

The makers of Four Loko will work with the government to reformulate their drink. They do however stand by their product. According to a recent public statement Four Loko says it appreciates government’s concern for its citizens, however they do not agree that caffeine and alcohol are unsafe. “When consumed responsibly, our products are just as safe as any other alcoholic beverage.” Regardless of how the company feels, the future will have a newer less intense version of the product. For now college students will have to enjoy the last few cans of this controversial beverage.


Written by ArthurVolpe

December 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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