FDA Issues Warning To Makers Of Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages

November 17, 2010
Contact: Rodney Foo @ (408) 282-8920
Assemblymember Jim Beall had Introduced Legislation to Ban the Drinks Statewide

Declaring the mixture of caffeine and alcohol was unsafe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took its first steps Wednesday to stop the sale of packaged caffeinated alcoholic drinks.

The FDA’s action follows a series of highly publicized cases nationwide of young adults becoming ill after drinking the beverages, and its own scientific review that concluded the drinks “pose a public health concern.’’

Last January, Assemblymember Jim Beall foresaw the dangers of the caffeinated alcoholic drinks and introduced AB 1598, legislation that would have prohibited the sale of those drinks in California. In April, the bill died in the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization.

“Eleven months ago I introduced a bill legislation to ban these dangerous drinks and I was told I was acting prematurely,’’ said Assemblymember Jim Beall, D-San Jose. “I was told the federal government was looking into the matter.  I was told to wait.  And they killed my bill in committee.

“During those 11 months, parents across the country have seen their children rushed to hospitals because of these vile drinks. I hope all the people who helped kill my bill finally realize how much harm they inflicted on these parents and their kids.’’

Beall had sought to outlaw the drinks because the harmful affects of the alcohol – impaired judgment and coordination -- were being masked by the caffeine, a stimulant.

“Basically, kids drank more of this stuff because they didn’t feel like they were drunk – but in fact they were. That’s why these dangerous drinks generated so many cases of alcoholic poisoning,’’ Beall said.

The FDA warned makers of the beverages that the continuation of marketing of the drinks would violate federal regulations. Makers that believe their drinks are not in violation of the warning can plead their case before the FDA by furnishing evidence and documentation. However, the FDA said in a prepared statement that if “the violation continues, the agency may pursue enforcement action that could include seizure of the products’’ or obtain a court injunction to stop further sales.

The FDA said warnings were sent to Charge Beverages Corp.; New Century Brewing Co., LLC; Phusion Projects, LLC; and United Brands Company Inc.