If you’ve noticed this brightly colored canned drink on store shelves, looks can be deceiving.  A 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko is available in several varieties, such as fruit punch and blue raspberry.  But the “punch” comes from caffeine, and an alcohol content of 12% – equal to four beers.  It sells for around $2.50, but has proved to be more costly to several college students, who were hospitalized after consuming this drink.  

This controversial energy drink may have played a part in an accident that killed an Arlington, Texas, teenager.  It was reported that she lost her life when she was thrown from a utility vehicle being driven by her 14-year-old boyfriend.  (She was not wearing her seat belt.) The boyfriend has been charged with intoxicated manslaughter.  Two of the boys in the car admitted drinking Four Loko that night.  Underage drivers and underage drinkers are a danger to themselves and to everyone else on the road.  

The manufacturer of this drink said it will remove the caffeine from its products; however, it is anticipated that the Food and Drug Administration is ready to ban it.  Four states have already banned the beverages, and other states are taking into consideration in doing the same.

The FDA notified over twenty-four manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages that the addition of caffeine to alcohol drinks had never been specifically approved, and is debating whether it should be outlawed due to being unsafe.  The FDA is concerned about the growing popularity among college students, and the resulting health and safety issues.  Several state attorneys general contend the drinks appeal to underage drinkers and encourage reckless behavior.  

It is anticipated that the FDA may have found as early as yesterday, (Wednesday), that caffeine is an unsafe food additive to alcoholic drinks.  If so, that would essentially ban Four Loko and other drinks like it. 

There are many ways that harmful products are marketed, and this clearly seems to be one of them.  The Four Loko cans are very attractively designed, but “12% Alcohol” is displayed on the label.  How are underage kids buying them?  The abuse of alcohol or any other drug is a problem for people of all ages.  Many young persons are curious about drinking, and are probably going to try it sooner or later; but a canned drink that contains the equivalent of four beers is too much – for a novice or anyone! 

Parents, stop, look, and listen!  Check out the latest products that may be harmful to your kids.  That pretty canned drink isn’t as pretty as you think. 

Source: AP, ABC News