- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New York’s senior senator said Tuesday that high-alcohol, caffeinated beverages such as Four Loko and Joose will soon be banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Let these rulings serve as a warning to anyone who tried to peddle dangerous and toxic brews to our children. Do it and we will shut you down,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat.

The beverages are currently sold in party stores along with beer and wine. However, the products have high levels of alcohol — as much as 12 percent, about three times the strength of a typical beer — and the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee.

Young people often refer to these drinks as a “blackout in a can” and consume them like beer. A common response is that after drinking one or more cans, a person will feel drunk but alert.

Numerous deaths and injuries have been attributed to these drinks, and four states — Michigan, Utah, Oklahoma and Washington — already ban them. Recently New York authorities reached an agreement with the maker of Four Loko and beer distributors to cease selling that product in that state.

The FDA last year sent letters to 27 manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages to let them know the agency was reviewing the safety of their products.

Media reports have suggested that the FDA could make an announcement about the beverages as soon as Wednesday, Nov 17, but an FDA spokesman said today he could not confirm when such an announcement would be made.

Mr. Schumer said that the Federal Trade Commission would also be notifying manufacturers that “they are engaged in the potential illegal marketing of unsafe alcoholic drinks.”

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