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Feds expected to ban alcoholic energy drinks

November 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Popular energy drinks that combine alcohol and caffeine could be banned as early as Wednesday. New York Senator Charles Schumer, who pushed for the ban, said the Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce that caffeine is an unsafe food additive to alcoholic drinks, essentially banning them.

While there is little known medical evidence that the drinks are less safe than other alcoholic beverages, public health advocates said the drinks could make people feel more alert and able to handle tasks like driving.

A Wake Forest University study found that students who combine caffeine and alcohol were more likely to suffer alcohol-related injuries than those drinking alcohol without caffeine.

Several deaths and hospitalizations have been linked to these beverages, including the popular Four Loko, which has an alcohol content of 12 percent, comparable to four beers.

The FDA announced that it had not reached a conclusion about its safety but cited concerns from state attorney generals from several states who contended the drinks appeal to underage drinkers and encourage reckless behavior.

The drinks have already been banned in four states - Washington, Michigan, Utah and Oklahoma - but not in California yet.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.


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