NPR recently ran a story discussing several states considering banning alcoholic energy drinks.
Phusion Projects will give only an estimate of how much caffeine is in its drink: One can has about as much caffeine as a six-pack of Diet Coke. One can also fills an empty wine bottle and in fact, contains about as much alcohol as a bottle of wine.
I get that people would want a caffeine buzz combined with the lull of alcohol–but one bottle of Four Loko takes it to an extreme. The results speak for themselves:
In Washington state, nine college freshmen landed in the hospital recently with near-lethal blood alcohol levels after drinking a caffeinated malt beverage called Four Loko, according to law enforcement officials.
Of course, the purveyor is saying, “Hey, not our fault” (not a direct quote). But this is:
“It’s kind of unfair in this example that our product is being singled out,”
Yes, I guess that will happen when a product puts people in the hospital with near-lethal blood alcohol levels. Caffeine and alcohol is a dangerous combination because the caffeine disguises the effects of the alcohol. At the levels that are in just one can of Four Loko, it is dangerous and it is disingenuous for Phusion Products to suggest otherwise. Not to mention, that the bottle looks like just about any other energy drink in a can.
Unfortunately, consumers are not always as sophisticated as the industry would like them to be, especially when the consumer is underage!
Should the FDA take action? Should it be left up to the states to decide?