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The ban on caffeinated alcoholic beverages was a result of multiple cases of alcohol poisoning and alcohol related blackouts in the United States. The majority of these alcohol poisoning cases were found on college campuses throughout the United States. Caffeinated alcoholic drinks such as Four Loko, Joose, and Tilt were the most popular around the U.S. These caffeinated alcoholic drinks contain roughly 12% alcohol according to their labels. The beverages, which combine malt liquor or other grain alcohol with caffeine and juices at alcohol concentrations up to about 12 percent, have become popular among college students. Their consumption has been associated with increased risk of serious injury, drunken driving, sexual assault and other behavior [1].

Four Loko beverage, the most common caffeinated alcoholic beverage

Active ingredients[edit]

One of the more popular drinks Four Loko mix the amount of caffeine equal to three cups of coffee with the an alcohol equivalent to about three cans of beer. Critics argue that the beverages are designed to appeal to younger buyers that are used to drinking caffeinated energy drinks. A 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko contains either 6 or 12 percent alcohol by volume, depending on state regulations [2].

Proposed Reason for Ban[edit]

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the beverages are regularly consumed by 31 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds and 34 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds. After this was released there was a parental outcry from the majority of country to ban the beverage [3]. Drinkers who consume alcohol-laced energy drinks are about twice as likely as drinkers who do not report mixing alcohol with energy drinks to report being taken advantage of sexually, to report taking advantage of someone else sexually, and to report riding with a driver who was under the influence of alcohol, according to the CDC [3].

The Food and Drug Administration[edit]

In November of 2010 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told the manufacturers of seven caffeinated alcoholic beverages including Four Loko that their drinks are a "public health concern" and can't stay on the market in their current form [2]. A member of the FDA said that FDA did not support the claim that the addition of caffeine to these alcoholic beverages is 'generally recognized as safe,' which was the legal standard at that given point[2].

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took an active roll in banning these beverages

Removing Caffeine[edit]

The decision to remove Caffeine from the beverage came from a review by the FDA, which gave the companie a window to either remove the caffeine and other stimulants in the drinks or face possible penalties under federal law [2]. Experts have said the caffeine used in the beverages can mask the effects of alcohol, leaving drinkers unaware of how intoxicated they are.One of the companies that received letters of warning was Phusion Projects in Chicago which makes Four Loko. Phusion Projects announced in November of 2010 that it was dropping caffeine and two other ingredients, guarana and taurine, from Four Loko because of a politically angered environment.


  1. ^ Harris, Gardiner [1], November 13, 2009
  2. ^ a b c d The CNN WIre Staff, [2], November 17, 2010.
  3. ^ a b U.S. News, [3], "U.S. News," November 17, 2009