The maker of that disaster-in-a-can known as Four Loko has announced that it will begin relabeling cans to show the beverage’s alcohol content. One can of Four Loko contains as much alcohol as 4-5 beers. People have argued—and rightly so, I believe—that not clearly labeling how much alcohol is in the drink puts consumers at risk; under pressure from the Federal Trade Commission, Four Loko’s manufacturer, Phusion Products, is beginning to see it this way, too.
I can’t believe people drink Four Loko. Scratch that—I can believe that people drink it (many of my friends drink it, despite the fact that they are pushing 30), but I think it’s a horrendously bad idea. The beverage is no can-of-red-bull or cup-of-coffee before a few beers; Four Loko 1.0 made even Sparks—the caffeinated alcoholic beverage of choice during my collegiate days—look like a Shirley Temple.
Four Loko 2.0—theoretically the only kind that’s sold today (though I feel like folks somehow come across an endless supply of black market Four Loko 1.0)—is a decaf beverage. Last November, manufacturers of Four Loko and other caffeinated malt beverages removed the stimulants (including energy-drink staples guarana and taurine) from their products when the FTC and Food and Drug Administration planned to crack down on them otherwise. The federal agencies branded these products dangerous because “caffeine can mask the sense of intoxication.”
But decaf Four Loko is still packed with tons of alcohol and sugar—making it not only potentially dangerous, but oh-so-unhealthy as well. While neither the sugar or calorie contents of Four Loco are listed, it’s estimated that one can contains more than 60 grams of sugar and around 660 calories.
Phusion Products has only agreed to list the alcohol content after essentially being forced to by the FTC, which said keeping alcohol content unlisted while touting the drink as a single-serve beverage and selling it alongside other tall beers amounted to ‘deceptive advertising.’
Photo: Fox News