Federal Trade Commission Agreement with Four Loko Producer called "A License to Kill Youth"

Oct 26, 2011, 17:57 ET from Alcohol Justice

Alcohol Justice Demands Better Deal for Public Safety

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Industry watchdog Alcohol Justice (formerly Marin Institute) initiated a national call-to-action today, asking the public health community to oppose a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) insider deal with Phusion Projects, LLC over their dangerous supersized alcopop Four Loko.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110727/DC41105LOGO)

"The FTC agreement with Phusion is a license to kill youth," stated Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director/CEO of Alcohol Justice. "The 24 ounce cans are impossible to drink responsibly because they contain the alarming alcohol content of 4 to 5 standard beers. We thank the FTC for acknowledging the deceptive marketing practices of Phusion Projects, but this baffling agreement does nothing to reduce the supersized alcohol content of Four Loko or the youth-oriented packaging."

"This insider deal is based on neither science nor common sense," stated Sarah Mart, Director of Research at Alcohol Justice. "It gives the green light for large, single-serving containers with high alcohol content as long as the cans are labeled and resealable. It's absurd to think a cap will stop a youth from consuming an entire can."

There is no evidence that resealable containers discourage drinking. In addition, the political implications of the FTC agreement on state regulations are also troubling. Several states are considering legislation to require that alcoholic products sold in single serve containers be limited to 12 ounce containers with 6% ABV.  A precedent setting federal action will seriously undermine state regulatory efforts by giving supersized alcopop producers something to hide behind.

For many years Alcohol Justice has been a leader in the national effort to properly regulate flavored malt beverages, known to the public as alcopops. Its groundbreaking 2007 report, Alcohol, Energy Drinks, and Youth: A Dangerous Mix, furthered the campaign that ultimately led to the Food and Drug Administration action on alcoholic energy drinks in November 2010. They also sounded the first alarm about supersized alcopops that remain in the wake of producers reformulating their alcopop products without caffeine. In addition to Four Loko, other products that fit the same youth-oriented profile include Joose and Blast by Pabst Brewing Company. Blast has been under attack for an ethnic and youth oriented marketing campaign headed up by Snoop Dogg.

Alcohol Justice asserts that with the Phusion agreement the FTC appears to endorse a new single-serving drink size that could become the new standard among other companies.

"The FTC action is actually worse than taking no action at all," added Livingston. "We believe it's quite likely the new labeling will act as a marketing device, not a warning. Youth will be drawn to the higher alcohol content, supersized containers that are cheaper than giant energy drinks. We ask FTC to withdraw the agreement and insist on lowering the alcohol percentages and size of flavored malt beverages."

Alcohol Justice is asking people to take action and submit comments of opposition to the FTC; to do so, go to: http://bit.ly/u67Wn5

CONTACT:  Michael Scippa 415-548-0492
Jorge Castillo 213-840-3336  

SOURCE Alcohol Justice