- The Washington Times - Monday, February 20, 2006

PARIS — France’s drinkers can buy a potion that supposedly stops hangovers and makes alcohol disappear from the blood system up to six times faster than usual.

Made from a “secret recipe” based on plant extracts, Security Feel Better comes in tiny bottles and is recommended for use before, during or after a heavy lunch or party.

It is on sale in a number of French supermarkets and is being exported to Korea, Germany and Switzerland with talks in progress to introduce it in the United States and elsewhere.

Security Feel Better, made by PPN of Normandy, contains purified water, fructose, plant extracts, artichoke, Yunnan tea, ascorbic acid, sodium benzoate and pear flavoring.

PPN’s Web site says the product should work within 45 minutes to “prevent hangover and eliminate food and drinks quicker, especially alcohol,” and to ease feelings of excess after “a lunch or party.”

PPN says it does not conceal the alcohol in a person’s blood system but “stimulates the various enzymatic systems that facilitate digestion.”

The drink is marketed as “completely harmless.” It is aimed at “anyone who finds they have to eat a copious or heavy, difficult-to-digest meal. The same applies to alcohol.”

PPN said yesterday it was not trying to convince buyers they could “drink, drink, drink” without regard to health or safety.

But its publicity material is being interpreted in France as implying that it allows drivers to get behind the wheel without fear.

A footnote on the Web site warns that time needed for the product to take effect varies among individuals. It also warns that alcohol abuse can seriously damage health.

However, there are signs on both sides of the English Channel that not everyone approves of promoting a product that encourages drinkers to feel they can quickly erase the effects of alcohol.

The vast French supermarket chain Auchan said that it had stopped selling the drink after a trial period at a store in northern France.

In Britain, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said it had major concerns about any product that led people to think they could drink and drive, whether or not it was marketed as such. The drink is not sold there.

Said Sophie Morgaut, from the agency handling PNN’s publicity: “We are not encouraging people to drink more, or to believe they can use Security Feel Better to drink and then drive. PPN is a very responsible company. Alcohol is widely available, and this is a serious product which helps eliminate it more quickly.”

In a test carried out by PPN, she said, the amount of alcohol in the system of a man who drank a whiskey followed by a bottle of wine and a liquor dropped 57 percent just 40 minutes later.

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