The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Caffeinated Alcohol Soon to be Pulled From Shelves

2 min read

College campuses have been buzzing about recent FDA regulations involving popular alcoholic energy drinks, which are expected to be off shelves by mid-December.
Amid controversy regarding the drinks and their influence on accidents among young adults, the FDA notified four manufacturers of the drinks on Nov. 17 that they must remove the caffeine, as it is an “unsafe food additive,” from their products, according to an FDA press release.

“The manufacturers of these products have failed to show that the direct addition of caffeine to their malt beverages is ‘generally recognized as safe’ by qualified experts,” read a FDA consumer update report.  “Rather, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern.”

Phusion Products, the makers of Four Loko, issued a press release which stated that the company plans to remove the caffeine, guarana and taurine from their beverages nationwide.  The release said that the Chicago-based company hopes to continue to work with the government to create standard regulations for alcoholic, caffeinated beverages.
Inside Higher Education estimated that the original Four Loko recipe contains the equivalent of three beers, a can of Red Bull and a large espresso.
According to the Washington Times, the “blackout in a can” has already been banned in Michigan, Utah, Oklahoma and Washington.
In Virginia, the ban announcement provoked buying binges, according to WHSV in Charlottesville.  Five stores near the University of Virginia reported that they were already sold out of the drink.
Junior Sarah Smethurst said that the bans were a result of the government trying to protect people who couldn’t protect themselves.
“I think if people were smarter about using any substance we wouldn’t have to deal with the repercussion of legislation,” Smethurst said.  “Four Loko will not kill you unless you go overboard, and ‘overboard’ is a different measure for everyone—you have to know your limits.”
The Washington Post similarly reported buying binges in Washington, D.C., where an American University student deemed the ban “the end of an era.”