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Public demands stronger restrictions on Four Loko

Parents across New York have heard of the alcoholic drink Four Loko and the reported deaths and injuries caused by it. The company that makes Four Loko, Phusion Products, chose to remove the caffeine from the drink in 2010 after the combination of alcohol and caffeine posed an unreasonable harm to consumers, but that has not stopped the company from producing a drink that contains nearly 12 percent alcohol. Now, the Federal Trade Commission is asking for comments on an agreement it recently reached with Phusion.

The agreement would require Phusion to include on its 23 1/2-ounce malt beverage cans a label that indicates the drink contains at least as much alcohol as 2 1/2 regular 12-ounce cans of beer. Cans will also be made so that a consumer can reseal them instead of drinking the whole Four Loko in one sitting.

While the FTC has come to an agreement with Phusion to eliminate some of the practices it says are deceptive, the agreement has received considerable criticism that it has not gone far enough. There have been over 200 comments against the deal, saying that the FTC should go farther to restrict the dangerous malt beverage.

Phusion and Four Loko first came under public scrutiny in 2010 because college students were hospitalized after consuming the drink. There were even a few deaths that were reported after young adults had consumed the drink. While one of the biggest concerns was that the energy drink component made it too difficult to determine how much alcohol the person had consumed, focus has recently shifted to the fact that the drink still contains high levels of alcohol, despite ads that imply there is only as much alcohol as one beer.

Source: Associated Press, "Government eyes popular malt liquor Four Loko," Jennifer C. Kerr, March 1, 2012

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