FDA says Caffeinated Alcohol Drinks Unsafe
The Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters to manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic drinks, calling the addition of caffeine an “unsafe food additive.” It is contended that these types of drinks cause a public health concern. The drinks that are at the focus of this action are Four Loko, Lemon Lime Core Spiked, Joose and Moonshot, although currently there are 25 brands of these beverages on the market. Alarmingly, these drinks are often called “blackout in a can.”
The Washington Liquor Control Board has also taken action, and has instituted a statewide ban of the use of these caffeinated alcoholic drinks. The drinks are considered dangerous because of the combination of caffeine and alcohol, which results in a wide awake drunk state, which is particularly dangerous for young inexperienced drinkers.
These drinks were responsible for sickening nine students at a Central Washington University party last month. Six women and three men, who were all under 21, became ill after consuming Four Loko. One woman almost died. The initial ban in Washington starts November 18 and will extend for 120 days while lawmakers put the final ban into effect.
The concern comes from the attraction this drink has with young people. Younger, inexperienced drinkers are showing up in hospital emergency rooms across the country with sky high blood alcohol levels. It is thought that the caffeine masks the amount of alcohol being consumed, with disastrous consequences. These drinks are also marketed to youth, with catchy graphics and marketing messages.