Feds eye ban of booze + caffeine

U.S. regulators are planning to crack down on companies selling alcoholic beverages that include a jolt of caffeine amid pressure from lawmakers, states and consumer groups that contend the drinks are dangerous.

Two U.S. agencies, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, are expected to warn manufacturers that adding caffeine to beer and other alcoholic drinks is unsafe and will caution them against marketing such beverages, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said yesterday.

Doing so “will effectively ban products from the market,” Schumer said in a statement. He did not say when the agencies would act, and representatives for the FDA and the FTC had no comment.

Schumer and other U.S. lawmakers, as well as attorneys general, have lobbied heavily for some kind of federal regulatory action following reports of young adults across the U.S. passing out or being hospitalized after consuming the so-called alcohol energy drinks.

Consumer advocates have also been urging tougher action against the drinks, sold mostly by privately held companies under the brands Four Loko, Joose and others. The cheap, fruit-flavored drinks are growing in popularity, especially among college students, they say.


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