Minggu, 15 November 2009

Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages Under Scrutiny

This week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified 27 manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages that they must either explain to the FDA why they believe that the addition of caffeine to alcoholic beverages is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) or take their products off the market. According to the FDA, for caffeine to be allowed as an additive to an alcoholic beverage “there must be evidence of its safety at the levels used and a basis to conclude that this evidence is generally known and accepted by qualified experts.” If the companies cannot provide such data within 30 days, the FDA will “take appropriate action” to ensure that the products are taken off the market.

Caffeinated alcoholic beverages are marketed primarily to young people under such names as Max Vibe, Torque, and Evil Eye. Some promotional campaigns depict consumption of multiple drinks in conjunction with high-risk sports such as snowboarding and motocross biking. The action by the FDA comes after the agency received a letter from 18 state Attorneys General asking that the FDA use its authority to see that the products are removed from the market. The Attorneys General argue that caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol and could lead to increased risk-taking behavior.

The two largest manufacturers have already agreed to remove their products from the marketplace. It would not be surprising to see the others follow suit within 30 days.

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