Thursday, November 11, 2010

Industry Group Calls for Voluntary Ban on Alco-Energy Drinks

The Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania has sent out a letter to its members encouraging them to voluntarily remove ‘Four Loko’ from their shelves. The alcohol and energy drink has come under scrutiny in recent weeks as more media reports linking ‘Four Loko’ to alcohol poisoning and injuries requiring hospital treatment surface. "Until the safety questions and other concerns about Four Loko are resolved, MBDA is asking its members not to sell this item," says Association President David Shipula. Shipula says the issues was brought up at the last MBDA board meeting after the Pennsylvania Liquor Control board sent out a letter to all beer distributors asking for the same action. He says among those beer distributors he has spoken to, the only Alco-Energy drink they were selling was ‘Four-Loko.’ He says there are as many as 40 other drinks in the class. ‘Four Loko’ combines a 12% alcohol content with caffeine and other stimulants typically found in energy drinks. Most mass-produced beer contains 4-6% alcohol.

Shipula says he was selling only a few cases of the drink every week but there were other members selling 50 cases a week. The board of the MBDA says they want to remove the beverage from the shelves until the FDA and other organizations have had a chance to review the safety of the beverage. It is unclear if the combination of chemicals in the drink is to blame of if drinkers simply are not expecting the kick and drink more than they should. "MBDA has always believed in and promoted the idea that beer and all alcoholic beverages should be used only by those over the age of 21 and only in a responsible manner," says Shipula.

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