Alcopops: Absolutely Loko
A much overdue decision was made November 17th when the FDA issued warning letters to four caffeinated alcoholic beverage producers, including Fusion, the creator of now infamous drink, Four Loko. Despite the fact that many have characterized this move as an overreaction; in reality, it was an appropriate medically based decision. The idea that consumers should be knowledgeable enough to know that a certain product is actually dangerous for them, even though it is ostentatiously marketed, is simply unrealistic. Corporations still have to be liable for the safety of their products. Very few people take the time to research and find out what the products they use contain, but they still need to be protected.
Although it may be surprising to some, there are actual standards for what can and cannot be sold here in America. Products like Four Loko, that lend themselves to abuse, need to be regulated.
These concoctions were in direct violation of these standards and in particular, The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act passed in 1938. This act contained the original set of laws that gave the FDA the duty of supervising food and in turn, food additives.
Food additives are designated clear regulations in this act, none of which permit the addition of caffeine to any alcoholic beverage. Caffeine is classified as an ingredient for cola type beverages in concentrations that do not exceed .02 percent.
Simply put, these drinks are and always were illegal. The FDA was merely doing the job of notifying the companies of their unfortunate predicament.
Combining two substances like caffeine and alcohol, which produce near opposite effects, is a risky science experiment to run. Caffeine, being an upper, releases neurotransmitters that end up conflicting with the ones being released by the alcohol, which is a downer. Clearly not all of this experimentation has been successful. Fusion is dealing with a few lawsuits including one concerning the death of Jason Kieran, a twenty year-old drinker of Four Loko from Florida.
Most American consumers do not have sufficient knowledge of toxicology and neuropharmacology to make these crucial decisions concerning the safety of chemicals and in this case, the interactions among them.
"You can still buy these ingredients separately. You can make your own mix. There just won't be any one company to make it easy for you," Junior Sami Marchesi laughed as he explained the alternative route for the now empty handed Loko-aficionados.
Some people make the ridiculous claim that since alcohol in itself is a poison, there is no reason to prohibit further contamination. The fact that alcohol is a poison is more reason to restrict the potentially harmful addition of other chemicals!
It is crucial for corporations to do what they can to reduce alcohol related illness, injury and deaths, and with the high correlation of Four Lokos to these exact problems, it's smarter and safer to do away with these beverages. Their packaging was bright and alluring, specifically targeting a younger demographic; the exact demographic that seems to be less adept at handling themselves while consuming caffeinated beverages with 11% alcohol.
College aged people are globally known for making bad choices, especially when it concerns alcohol. Taking away one more prepackaged bad choice is only doing the world good.