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Alcoholic Energy Drinks Come Under FDA Scrutiny

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Alcoholic energy drinks have gained in popularity, particularly among younger drinkers. But now, the drinks, marketed under flashy names like Evil Eye or Max Fury, are coming under the Food and Drug Administration’s scrutiny. The FDA has never approved of the addition of caffeine to alcoholic drinks, but the producers of these beverages claim that their products are safe. Nevertheless, the FDA is concerned that the addition of caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol, potentially leading to more instances of drunk driving, sexual assaults or other destructive behaviors.

The burden of proving that the caffeine-laden alcoholic beverages are safe falls squarely on the shoulders of the manufacturers. In a September 25th letter to the FDA, a task force, consisting of the attorney generals of several states as well as several other state, city, and territorial law enforcement officials, stated that “there is a strong emerging consensus of scientific opinion that the combination of caffeine and alcohol…poses a serious public health risk”. Ultimately, the goal is to remove the caffeinated alcoholic beverages from the market. Since the FDA received the letter from the task force, they also issued a letter to the manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages. Manufacturers have 30 days to respond to the FDA.

So far, larger corporations such as Anheuser-Busch have already removed caffeine from their alcoholic energy drinks. However, other smaller companies such as Los-Angeles based Joose Beverage and Portland, Oregon-based Charge Beverages continue to sell alcoholic energy drinks infused with caffeine. The companies could still challenge the FDA’s request by arguing that their products have already been approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.