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Alcoholic energy drinks may soon be but a hazy, blacked-out memory. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings to the makers of several alcoholic beverages including Four Loko and Joose saying that it is unsafe to include caffeine in their products and that they cannot stay on the market as-is.
Though the energy drinks have been under review by the FDA for the past year, the products have been under increased scrutiny in recent months after groups of college students drinking Four Loko were hospitalized due to a mass overdose.
“The 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. To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein.
Recent studies have shown drinking caffeine and alcohol together can up a person’s risk of injury. Researchers at Wake Forest University found that the caffeine enables people to drink more because the stimulant can cover up how drunk you are. As a result, those who get drunk on alcoholic energy drinks are twice as likely to be hurt, injured or require medical attention.
Even before the FDA’s decision, several states, including Michigan and Washington, had already banned the drinks.
Four Loko, the most notorious of the drinks (it’s nicknamed Blackout in a Can), announced its plans to remove caffeine and two other stimulants, guarana and taurine, from their formula one day before the FDA’s warning.
The other products that must revise their recipes are Joose, Max, Core High Gravity HG, Core High Gravity HG Orange, Lemon Lime Core Spiked and Moonshot. The makers of those beverages have 15 days to notify the FDA of their plans to remedy the violation.
Do you agree that the drinks are dangerous and should be pulled from the market? Chime in below.