Four Loko Losing the Caffeine

Makers change recipe ahead of FDA crackdown

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 17, 2010 2:43 AM CST

(Newser) – The embattled makers of Four Loko are changing the recipe of the drink nicknamed "blackout in a can." The alcohol is staying, but the drink will no longer contain caffeine, guarana, and taurine—three of the "Four" in its name. The move comes as the FDA prepares to announce the results of a review of high-caffeine alcoholic drinks, the New York Times notes. Michigan has banned the drink, as has Washington state and numerous communities and campuses around the country.

The FDA is expected to announce today that it has determined that caffeine is an unsafe substance to add to alcoholic beverages, a finding Four Loko's makers dispute. "If it were unsafe, popular drinks like rum and colas or Irish coffees that have been consumed safely and responsibly for years would face the same scrutiny that our products have recently faced," said a statement from the company. A Florida family is suing the company, claiming the three drinks their son consumed—equivalent to 18 light beers and 6 cups of coffee—led to his accidental shooting death as he waved a loaded gun around drunk.

The current Four Loko recipe is equivalent to drinking three cans of beer and three cups of coffee.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Four Loko and other alcoholic energy drinks are seen in the cooler of a convenience store in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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