After months of state governments doing everything they can to keep the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko off the shelves, it looks like the federal government is stepping in. The FDA has given companies that manufacture these drinks and ultimatum: shape up or say goodbye! For more information on this development of Four Loko and the changes we are likely to see, keep on reading after the jump.
It seems like alcohol containing “energy drinks” like Four Loko sprang up out of nowhere, taking over college campuses and the newswires in recent months. Battle after battle to get these products off convenience store shelves have finally led to intervention by the FDA.
The Food and Drug Administration has concluded that these drinks, especially Four Loko, are a health hazard due to the combination of alcohol and caffeine, and that the packaging and flavor selection appeal to youth, thus breaking the FDA’s marketing rules.
The FDA has sent letters to four companies that distribute these drinks telling them that they have to change the formulas and packaging or else their products will be permanently pulled from the shelves.
So far, the only company to respond has been Phusion Projects, the makers for Four Loko, and they aren’t particularly happy about the changes. In a response to the letters, they said the would change their formula to remove all stimulants and change their packaging, but that is the extent of the details right now. However, the company maintains that their products, when consumed responsibly, pose no health threat due to the combination of ingredients. Phusion Projects and Four Loko are adamant that they have studies showing that the caffeine-alcohol combo is safe, and that the only reason they are changing their formula is due to the pressure from the FDA.
What doesn’t seem to be bothering the FDA is that by removing the stimulants in Four Loko, what make the drink so dangerous doesn’t really change. A can of Four Loko contains as much alcohol as about three beers, while only as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. And at about $2.50, it is a cheap way to consume a lot of alcohol. If it is safety they are concerned about, shouldn’t they be addressing the amount of alcohol it contains and not the amount of caffeine?
The other companies, which sell the drinks Core High Gravity, Moonshot, Joose, and Max, have yet to respond to the FDA’s warning.
What do you guys think of the FDA requiring alcoholic energy drinks to change their formula? Do you think it is the caffeine-alcohol combo that makes them so dangerous, or the amount of alcohol they contain for such a cheap price? Leave us some comments and let us know, and check out some video about the battle against Four Loko below.