While applauding expected actions by the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission against dangerous alcoholic energy drinks, Marin Institute, the alcohol industry watchdog, called for strong state action as well.
In the wake of increased media attention to the grave risks of combining caffeine with high-alcohol content, states have taking swift stands. In the past 2 weeks alone, four states – Michigan, Oklahoma, Washington, and New York— have shown leadership by banning the products or suspending their sale, while many more states are planning similar actions.
“State-level product bans will continue to be necessary to get the products off of store shelves,” explained Michele Simon, Marin Institute’s research and policy director and co-author of the 2007 report. “States are the primary regulators of alcoholic beverages and have full authority to ban alcoholic energy drinks whether by regulatory or legislative action, or through attorney general enforcement,” Simon added.
Marin Institute first sounded the alarm about alcoholic energy drinks in 2007, with its groundbreaking report, Alcohol, Energy Drinks, and Youth: A Dangerous Mix. The report describes both the health risks and how companies market these products to youth.
“We are thrilled that the federal government is taking action,” said Simon. “We have maintained all along that these products contain illegal additives in the form of caffeine and other stimulants and that they are being deceptively marketed to youth.”
For the past several years, Marin Institute has called on companies to stop making these products, for states to ban or restrict them, and for the federal government to act as well. Most recently, Marin Institute directed more than 1,200 emails from around the country calling on FDA to ban alcoholic energy drinks. In 2010, Marin Institute backed legislation in Washington State, California, and New York to ban the tainted products.
For background information on alcoholic energy drinks go to MarinInstitute.org.