Four Loko Cans Now Required to Show Alcohol Content
Four Loko - a caffeinated malt beverage - has been banned by Washington State Liquor Control after many college-age students were hospitalized because of the drink. The contrasting effects of caffeine and alcohol are said to somewhat cancel each other out, leading to higher consumption of the product. Those who are not used to drinking alochol may over-consume, causing alcohol-related injury.
As an alcohol vendor, and as a part of being a responsible alcohol server, it's important to know that products like these have been banned. It's also important to know the effects of what Four Loko can do, and the average alcohol content in a can.
Known among college students as "blackout in a can" this controversial product has been banned in other states, including Michigan for the same reason. A push is currently underway in New York and Oregon for a statewide sales ban. In one report, Four Loko manufacturer Phusion Projects defended its product, saying that can that warned of the drink's contents and called attention to the need for identification to purchase it.
"The unacceptable incident at Central Washington University, which appears to have involved hard liquor ... and possibly illicit substances," the statement read, "is precisely why we go to great lengths to ensure that our products are not sold to underage consumers and are not abused."
Now, in a push from the FTC, Four Loko cans are required to state just how much alcohol the beverage has in it; a whopping 12%, which shows one can of Four Loko has approximately the same alcohol content as 4-5 cans of beer. The FTC alleges that Phusion misrepresented the amount of alcohol in those cans. Phusion has been known to state that one can of Four Loko is the equivalent of one to two regular cans of 12-ounce beers – instead of four to five cans.
Phusion also has marketed these cans as a single serving, and the cans are not resealable, which encourages the drinker to consume the product all at once. Phusion considers it safe to consume a whole can of Four Loko, while the FTC considers consuming an entire can on a single occasion equivalent to “binge drinking.”
Four Loko spokesperson and lobbyist Jim Halstrom says, "No one is more upset than we are when our products are abused or consumed illegally by underage drinkers, but we also believe curbing alcohol abuse or underage drinking will not be accomplished by singling out a lone product or beverage category. We think the true answer lies with increased education and awareness by all and with respect for the law."
It seems as if the answer is two-fold. On one hand, the makers of Four Loko should be required to disclose information about the content of what's in their product. On the other hand, there is a responsibility by the vendors to check ID's - to make sure alcohol isn't being sold to minors, and to ensure products are not being sold to those who are intoxicated.
Part of responsible alcohol service is knowing your part in matters like these. To get your mandatory alcohol servers permit, and take alcohol online classes from the comfort of your own home, visit www.aacea.com.
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