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FDA kills buzz of caffeinated booze, issues warning letters to beverage cos.

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A class of alcoholic beverages that rapidly became popular among young people over the last few years is headed for the drain.

 

The Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to four manufacturers of beverages that combine high amounts of alcohol and caffeine, effectively issuing a federal ban on the beverages.

 

 

Companies receiving the letters are Portland, Ore.-based Charge Beverages, the maker of the Core High Gravity line of drinks; Chicago-based Phusion Projects, the maker of Four Loko; Boston-based New Century Brewing, which makes Moonshot; and La Mesa, Calif.-based United Brands, the maker of Joose and Max.

 

 

The FDA, which said its action was based on review of scientific literature and its own research, threatened seizure of the beverages if the companies failed to comply, though Phusion Projects had announced Tuesday its intention to remove caffeine from its products, which the FDA called a “positive step.” According to the research, the high levels of caffeine in the drinks can mask the effects of drunkenness.

 

 

“[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,” FDA principal deputy commissioner Joshua Sharfstein said. “To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern.”

 

 

Caffeinated alcoholic drinks, particularly Four Loko –– which contains up to 12% alcohol in a 23.5-oz. can and as much caffeine as two or three cups of coffee –– have gained widespread attention amid reports of young people engaging in dangerous behavior and suffering injuries or dying after drinking them.

 

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Report: FDA to crack down on alcohol-energy combo drinks

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The Food and Drug Administration could move on manufacturers of energy drinks that combine alcohol and caffeine as soon as Nov. 17, The New York Times reported Monday, citing unnamed state law enforcement officials across several states.

 

The New York Times report suggested the FDA may issue warning letters as a first step toward removing the products from the market.

 

 

At issue are safety concerns surrounding the combination beverages — which typically contain as much as 12% alcohol and as much caffeine as one cup of coffee. Several studies have suggested people become more intoxicated and engage in riskier behavior consuming the caffeinated alcohol drinks as compared to people drinking alcohol alone, the Times reported.

 

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Tim Cost joins PepsiCo

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. — A former Wyeth executive has been named PepsiCo’s EVP global corporate affairs.

Tim Cost, who will report to PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi, officially will join the company Dec. 1. In the newly created position, Cost will be responsible for strengthening and protecting PepsiCo’s corporate reputation and strategically aligning its communications, public policy, foundation, investor relations, global health and agricultural policy, and regulatory agendas.

Cost joins PepsiCo from APCO Worldwide, a public affairs and strategic communications firm, where he was EVP. Prior to that, he served as SVP corporate affairs for pharmaceutical company Wyeth, prior to its acquisition by Pfizer last year.

"As the role of corporations in society continues to evolve, it is critical that we be very thoughtful, strategic and consistent in how we reach out to our many different stakeholders," said PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi. "Tim is a very talented leader whose depth and breadth of experience will help us take a holistic view of our external relations and forge strong, productive and mutually beneficial relationships, consistent with our global commitment to performance with purpose."

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