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FDA sends warning letters to makers of caffeinated alcohol drinks

November 17, 2010|By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times
  • Manufacturers of these caffeinated alcoholic drinks received warning letters from the FDA on Thursday.
Manufacturers of these caffeinated alcoholic drinks received warning… (Screen grab from www.fda.gov )

Caffeinated alcoholic beverage manufacturers received official word Wednesday from the Food and Drug Administration that caffeine added to their products is considered an "unsafe food additive."

The FDA sent warning letters to four companies, including the makers of popular fruit-flavored alcoholic drinks Four Loko, Joose and Max. 

"FDA does not find support for the claim that the addition of caffeine to these alcoholic beverages is 'generally recognized as safe,' which is the legal standard,” Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner said in a statement.  "To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern." Check out the full statement at the FDA's Web page

Prior to the warning, Four Loko maker Phusion Projects said it would remove caffeine from its drinks, the Associated Press reports. Four Loko packs up to 12% alcohol in each 23.5-ounce can.

The news comes a day after Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced that the FDA would take such actions. Four states had already banned the drinks after college students in several incidents nationwide were sickened. Here's what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has to say on the dangers of such drinks.

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