Students hoping to get a little “loco” this weekend may have to look a little harder.
Four Loko, the popular high-energy alcoholic beverage that has been at the center of nationwide controversy, will no longer be shipped into New York State as of Friday, Nov. 19.
The agreement came between Governor David Paterson and State Liquor Authority Chairman Dennis Rosen and Four Loko producer Phusion Products.
The ban comes after a wave of negative press and public pressure surrounding the beverage’s unsafe consumption, especially on college campuses across the country.
“New Yorkers deserve to know that the beverages they buy are safe for consumption,” Paterson said in the press release announcing the new measures. “The voluntary agreement reached this weekend between beverage distributors and the State Liquor Authority is an important first step toward permanently removing alcoholic energy drinks from the marketplace. I’ll continue to work with the beverage industry to protect the safety of all New Yorkers. I’d like to thank Chairman Rosen for his efforts on this issue and the beverage industry for working with the state to achieve this agreement.”
Many beer vendors have already voluntarily offered to stop selling stimulant-rich alcoholic beverages. Under the also voluntary agreement, vendors have stopped placing orders for the beverages immediately and have until Dec. 10 to clean out old stock and inventory.
Drinks such as Four Loko have been causing national controversy, with the Food and Drug Administration warning four companies on Wednesday that further action, including possible seizure of their products, is possible under federal law.
The companies warned included Charge Beverages Corp. for their Core High Gravity beverages, New Century Brewing Co. for Moonshot, Phusion Projects, for Four Loko and United Brands Company Inc, for Joose and Max.
“[The] FDA does not find support for the claim that the addition of caffeine to these alcoholic beverages is ‘generally recognized as safe,’ which is the legal standard,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner, said in the press release. “To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern.”
Prior to the FDA announcement, Phusion Projects announced that it would remove the energy substances from its popular Four Loko drink. This included removing the caffeine, guarana and taurine from its products, only making non-caffeinated versions of the drink.
“We have repeatedly contended — and still believe, as do many people throughout the country — that the combination of alcohol and caffeine is safe,” the company said in their press statement. “If it were unsafe, popular drinks like rum and colas or Irish coffees that have been consumed safely and responsibly for years would face the same scrutiny that our products have recently faced.”
Whether this new version of the drink will be allowed in states that have banned the previous version is unclear.
However, despite the dangers of the drink, UR students seem to feel that drinking options shouldn’t be limited by the government and instead by people and their own individual judgment.
“My mom called me the day it was outlawed and gave me a whole lecture about it — there’s a lot of harmful substances out there and people should be able to monitor their own responsibility,” sophomore Julie Henderson said.
Freshman Anne Marie Brandish echoed similar sentiments, but also admitted that people do need to be careful when using the this kind of drink.
“I don’t think it should be outlawed because this is not something the government should control, but I still think it’s stupid,” she said.
Clark is a member of the class of 2012.