Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board is calling on retailers to stop selling Four-Loko, an alcoholic energy drink, due to several incidents of alcohol poisoning and hospitalisations. A spokeswoman for the agency said described the beverage as quickly becoming a public health issue.
The fruit-flavoured drink contains 12% alcohol as well as the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee. In addition to all this, it includes several other stimulants. There are many drinks of this kind, although Four Loko has received a disproportionate amount of scrutiny in recent weeks due to associated the hospitalisations.
The product’s makers, Phusion Projects LLC, issued a statement on Wednesday to the Times-Shamrock newspapers. “No one is more upset than we are when our products are abused or used illegally.”
“People have safely combined caffeine and alcohol for years: rum and colas, Red Bull Vodkas, Irish coffees are standard fare in bars and restaurants everywhere.”
While this may be true, the sheer amount of the combined components can result in heat problems. The drink’s popularity among college students, many of whom refer to it as ‘liquid cocaine’ or ‘blackout in a can’, has resulted in serious concern.
The Liquor Control Board mailed 17,000 businesses licensed to sell alcohol, warning them of the “potential dangers” of the product and informing them of an ongoing FDA investigation into its safety.