KBTX - Health - Headlines

Four Loko and Other Malt Alcoholic Drinks to be Pulled From Shelves

By: Jackie Gil Email
By: Jackie Gil Email

Have you gotten "Loko" yet?

"I will probably try to buy as many as I can get before they are out and try to hold on to them."

Texas A&M student Joel Lopez said that after learning the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission wants to close the tab on Four Loko and other malt alcoholic drinks with caffeine.

This week the Food and Drug Administration sent letters to the companies that make the products saying the caffeine in the drink is unsafe, but Lopez says this issue should be left to the drinkers.

"People need to be more responsible with it," said Lopez. "A lot of people don't understand what the energy drink and the combination of the alcohol do together because it's already a mixed drink, but people assume it's just a beer."

Four Loko contains 12 percent alcohol and you have to be 21 or older to buy it.

Kathy Montoya, the store manager where Lopez buys his Four Loko said TABC is being rash and policy makers are not looking at the real issue.

"Probably what is happening is that it is falling into the wrong hands and they are over drinking this stuff," said Montoya.

According to the letters sent out last week, the FDA is giving manufacturers 15 days to come up with a solution. In the meantime, TABC is asking store owners to take it off the shelves.
Since it's not mandatory, Montoya says the request is hard to swallow.

"Because if we decide to take it out and my neighbor down the road decides not to, then we are going to lose business," said Montoya.

Lopez also thinks TABC is not solving the issue.

"That's a little bit ridiculous, basic economics say if there's a demand for it, they are going to supply it," said Lopez. "Most retailers know there's a lot of money to be made of off Four Loko and people want them."

Lopez says people should have common sense and know their limit. Instead Lopez says the concern should shift to how Four Loko and other similar drinks are advertised.

"More focus needs to be that it's an alcoholic drink than just an energy drink," said Lopez.

On Wednesday the Federal Trade Commission also warned the makers that the way the products are being marketed could be considered unfair and deceptive, a civil offense that comes with a hefty fine.


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