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FDA Threatens Ban on Alcoholic Energy Drinks

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Alcoholic drinks that contain caffeine are facing an imminent ban by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unless manufacturers can clearly show that the products are safe for consumers.

The New York Times reported Nov. 13 that the FDA, responding to a request from 19 state attorneys general, told 30 makers of caffeinated alcohol drinks that the agency would move to “ensure that the products are removed from the marketplace” unless the manufacturers produce evidence of their safety within the next 30 days. An FDA official said that consumption of alcoholic energy drinks has been associated with high risk for injury, drunk driving, and sexual assaults, especially among college students.

The agency noted that the use of caffeine in alcoholic beverages has never been approved by FDA.

“For many years, federal regulators have stood mutely by as these potentially dangerous products, which resemble nonalcoholic energy drinks in many ways, gained in popularity among young people,” said the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), an alcohol-industry watchdog. “In fact, emerging research suggests that the young consumers of these products are more likely to be the perpetrator or victim of sexual aggression, to ride with an intoxicated driver or to become otherwise injured.”

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