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FTC requires packaging changes for Four Loko beverage

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — After the Federal Trade Commission charged the maker of an alcoholic, carbonated malt beverage with deceptive advertising, the company has agreed to make changes to its product’s packaging.

Phusion Projects has agreed to only use resealable containers for its Four Loko flavored malt beverages that have more alcohol than the equivalent of two-and-a-half regular 12-oz. beers. The FTC alleged that "Phusion Projects and its principals falsely claimed that a 23.5-oz., 11% or 12% alcohol by volume can of Four Loko contains alcohol equivalent to one or two regular 12-oz. beers, and that a consumer could drink one can safely in its entirety on a single occasion." According to the FTC, one can of Four Loko contains as much alcohol as four to five 12-oz. cans of regular beer and is not safe to drink on a single occasion.

Additionally, the settlement also bars Phusion Projects from misrepresenting the alcohol content of any beverage, and from depicting people drinking directly from the container of any product containing more alcohol than that found in two-and-a-half regular beers.

"Deception about alcohol content is dangerous to consumers, and it’s a serious concern for the FTC," said David Vladeck, director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Four Loko contains as much alcohol as four or five beers, but it is marketed as a single-serving beverage."

Currently, the 23.5-oz. Four Loko cans are nonresealable and the size of about two regular beer cans.

"Our labeling has always clearly conveyed exactly what’s in the can in bold, capital letters — 23.5 oz. and 12% ABV. Even though we reached an agreement, we don’t share the FTC’s perspective and we disagree with their allegations. We don’t believe there were any violations. Four Loko’s labeling and marketing has never stated that the cans were the equivalent of one to two beers. However, we take legal compliance very seriously and we share the FTC’s interest in making sure consumers get all the information and tools they need to make smart, informed decisions," Phusion Projects cofounder Jaisen Freeman said in a statement.

Phusion Projects recently removed caffeine from its flavored malt beverages after receiving warnings from the government that noted "alcohol containing added caffeine presents unusual risks to health and safety."


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Clif Kid provides seasonal health-friendly trick-or-treat option for parents

BY Michael Johnsen

EMERVYVILLE, Calif. — Clif Kid on Tuesday announced that its Full Moon Brownie Zbar, will be available for a limited time for families looking to give trick-or-treaters something a little more healthy this Halloween. Full Moon Brownie combines a chocolate brownie with white chocolate chips in a snack bar made with organic ingredients and baked whole grains, plus 12 vitamins and minerals specific for kids.

“Halloween can be a spooky time for parents who are torn between the sugary treats of the season and their kids’ nutritional needs,” stated Jennifer Yun, brand director for Clif Kid. “With Full Moon Brownie Zbar, Clif Kid gives parents a nourishing alternative that their kids will love for its great flavor, without compromising on nutrition.”

Zbar provides 8 g to 11 g of whole grains and 12 vitamins and minerals. Each bar also is USDA-certified organic and contains no high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Full Moon Brownie is replacing the popular Spooky S’mores seasonal flavor, which has been added to the permanent Zbar line.

Full Moon Brownie is available now, while supplies last, at select grocery and natural retailers across the country at a suggested retail price of 89 cents.

 


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FDA commits to retail food safety

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has launched an initiative that is designed to assure the safety of food sold at retail.

The Retail Food Safety Action Plan is designed to improve the way managers of food establishments (i.e., food stores, restaurants, schools and other foodservice opertaions) conduct food safety operations in their facilities and assure that personnel are trained on measures to keep food safe. Additionally, the initiative will expand the oversight of these establishments by federal, state and local public health agencies.

What’s more, the FDA announced that it has released a supplement to the 2009 FDA Food Code, which includes a new and modified recommendations, including:

  • Requiring that food establishments have a certified food protection manager on staff;

  • Among the established duties of the person-in-charge, all operating procedures required by the Food Code are developed and implemented; that it can be verified that all employees are informed about their obligation to report certain health conditions that relate to transmission of foodborne illness; and that any food the establishment receives after operating hours is delivered in a manner that does not create a food safety hazard;

  • Requiring that food establishments have a plan for responding to and properly cleaning-up after an employee or other individual becomes physically ill in areas where food may be prepared, stored or served;

  • Clarifying appropriate exceptions to the prohibition of bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods prepared in the establishment;

  • Clarifying the requirements for the safe storage and display of ground and whole-muscle meat and poultry;

  • New requirements for devices used to generate chemical sanitizers on- site in the food establishment;

  • Establishing clearer guidelines for the amount time a food establishment should be given to correct violations of different types of provisions in the Food Code.

In line with the new action plan, the FDA has entered a cooperative agreement with the National Association of County and City Health Officials, whereby FDA and NACCHO will promote the use of best practices by local authorities and develop tools to strengthen retail food safety oversight and implement FDA’s Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards for retail food regulatory programs.

For more information, visit FDA.gov.


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