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FDA to Effectively Ban Caffeine and Alcohol Drinks Like Four Loko and Joose

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Washington, DCUS Senator Charles E. Schumer announced today that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will rule that caffeine is an unsafe food additive to alcoholic beverages, effectively making products such as Four Loko and Joose, and others like them, prohibited for sale in the United States.

A press release issued by Senator Schumer of New York also states that the Federal Trade Commission will notify manufacturers that they're potentially marketing the products illegally.

"Let these rulings serve as a warning to anyone who tried to peddle dangerous and toxic brews to our children. Do it and we will shut you down," said Schumer. "This ruling should be the nail in the coffin of these dangerous and toxic drinks. Parents should be able to rest a little easier knowing that soon their children won't have access to this deadly brew."

After calls by Schumer to ban the drinks in New York, just this past week, the State Liquor Authority and the state's largest beer distributors agreed to stop selling these dangerous drinks in New York. In addition to New York's efforts, Oklahoma, Utah, Michigan, and Washington acted to ban the drinks as did a number of colleges, including Ramapo College, Worcester State University, the University of Rhode Island and the Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Popular drinks such as Four Loko and Joose contain as much as 2-3 coffee cups worth of caffeine and 2-3 cans of beer per container – a potent, dangerous mix that can be extremely hazardous for teens and adults alike. Last month, nine students passed out and were hospitalized after drinking Four Loko, leading states and universities across the country to issue ban, limit, or issue warnings about the drink.

Compounded with its health risks, beverages like Four Loko pose a unique danger because they target young people. The style of the beverages – with a vibrantly colored aluminum can colors and funky designs –appeal to younger consumers, increasing the likelihood that the beverages will be consumed by young adults and creating a problem for parents and business owners who might be misled by the branding. Four Loko is also stocked next to other energy drinks, creating further confusion.

Last week, Schumer was joined in his efforts to ban the drink by Jacqueline Celestino, grandmother of Nicole Lynn Celestino, an 18 year old from Long Island who passed away after drinking the caffeinated alcoholic beverage Four Loko. Nicole went into cardiac arrest after drinking Four Loko this past August, she had taken a diet pill that day. Nicole's family has become outspoken advocates for a ban on alcoholic caffeinated drinks like Four Loko.

The dangers of these drinks are well known. A recent study found that young and underage drinkers who combine alcohol with caffeine, which occurs with increasing frequency given the prevalence of beverages like Four Loko and Joose, are more likely to suffer injury, be the victim of sexual assault, drive while intoxicated, and require medical attention than drinkers who consume caffeine-free beverages. In 2008, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and MillerCoors LLC reformulated caffeinated alcoholic beverages under pressure from several states and regulatory bodies, but smaller companies like the manufacturers of Four Loko and Joose managed to remain unnoticed.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
There is nothing wrong with joose, or four loco,its underage drinking thats the real problem. I drink joose watermellon and have never had a problem. Dont blame a drink for your childs underage drinking.

Posted by

on
big wow 9 people passed out and were hospitalised after drinking that drink in a month i bet you way more people ended up in hospital after hitting their head in a sexual encounter in one month are they gonna ban sex too? its utter nonesence

Posted by

on
>>>"Let these rulings serve as a warning to anyone who tried to peddle dangerous and toxic brews to our children.<<< Someone please tell the good Senator it's already to sell alcohol to children . . . .

Posted by

on
>>>"Let these rulings serve as a warning to anyone who tried to peddle dangerous and toxic brews to our children.<<< Someone please tell the good Senator it's already to sell alcohol to children . . . .

Posted by

on
Four Loco and Joose should not be banned. I am a college student and have had tried both products. Speaking from my own experience, they are both popular drinks amongst the legal college drinking crowd. I have not known a single student who has overdosed on Four or Joose. These products can be consumed in a responsible manner when taking the necessary precautions as any one would when drinking; such as proper food intake, water consumption, watching your alcohol intake, drinking in moderation, etc. The companies who produce these products even state clearly on their product labels the percentage of alcohol inside, along with the required warning labels for consuming alcoholic beverages. I do not believe that the speculation should be placed upon these products due to the coloring of the labels or their alleged results associated with drinking these products, as all alcoholic beverages, sodas, and energy drinks are colorfully packaged and most have a combination of potential results. Nearly all of the people who these articles and complaints are attributed, are UNDERAGE and should not have been drinking in the first place. Clearly had not been properly informed of how to drink responsibly. As with any product on the consumer market today, there will be potential risks that are involved regardless of what the product or consequence is. The people who purchase Four Loco, Joose, Tilt, and Sparks are comprised of a vast majority of the population who do practice responsible, LEGAL drinking. Rather than banning these products altogether from the people whom it least affects, perhaps the real issue at hand consists of teaching the people of current drinking age and young adults how to consume their beverages responsibly. Maybe then authority figures will begin to see a decrease in negative incidences relating to alcohol and other substances.

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