FDA warns alcoholic energy drink manufacturers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

FDA warns alcoholic energy drink manufacturers


by Danielle Wagner

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) After a storm of controversy, the FDA has issued a stern warning to the makers of alcoholic energy drinks -- stop combining alcohol and caffeine into drinks.

The FDA said evidence shows the drinks have led to alcohol poisoning, car accidents and assaults.

alcoholic energy drinks will soon disappear from store shelves.

The FDA is warning companies to stop making the drinks because they're unsafe.

The caffeine, which is a stimulant, masks the effect of the alcohol, so it's easier to be more intoxicated than you might think.

"Which can lead to dangerous situations that get out of control before people realize what's happening," said Mark Rowe-Bart.

Substance Abuse Specialist Mark Rowe-Bart said it's really about knowing what you're consuming.

He said one Four Loko drink has the equivalent alcohol of five standard beers, the same caffeine as two cups of coffee and the same number of calories as a McDonald's cheeseburger Happy Meal and a coke.

"Studies show increases in anxiety, panic attacks and basically increased risk for high blood pressure," said Rowe-Bart.

Rowe-Bart said nine college students nationwide were hospitalized after having one of the drinks.

He said he's working to educate students on the UNI campus about the dangers.

"It's really a delicate balance because on one hand you don't want to be alarmist or inadvertently promote this type of beverage, but on the other hand, in our case, it goes back to helping college students understand what they're consuming," said Rowe-Bart.

Rowe-Bart with any food or beverage, it's important to read labels and know exactly what you're putting in your body.

The manufacturer of Four Loko said it plans to remove the caffeine from its drink.

The FDA said it plans to seize the products if companies continue to make them. The companies have 15 days to respond to the warning letter.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner


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