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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Four Loko Takes More Lives

Four Loko still has its hand in controversy even after it was ordered to be pulled off the shelves and reformulated, as well as banned altogether in certain states. The controversial caffeinated alcohol in a can has been in the news a lot lately and for good reason - it's dangerous. Two teenage bodies were found in a vacant apartment in Huntington Beach, California, the cause of death is being linked to drugs and alcohol; not surprisingly, a can of Four Loko was found in the apartment reinforcing the fact that the alcohol infused energy drink can be dangerous.

While Four Loko may not have been the sole cause of the teenagers' deaths it seemed to play some part. 15-year old Aaron Saenz, of Westminster and 16-year-old Chelsea Taylor, of Huntington Beach were discovered Friday morning at an apartment on Huntington Village Lane. An autopsy was completed Monday, but, because this is an ongoing investigation the coroner's office will not release the official cause of death. Four Loko has been banned in a number of states but it remains legal in California. In November, the company said that it would remove the caffeine from its formulas.

It was not known if the empty can found in the apartment contained caffeine. The company released the following statement to KTLA:

“We are extremely saddened by this tragic event and our thoughts are with these young people’s families and friends. This tragedy speaks to the serious concerns regarding alcohol and drug use in our society – concerns we would all like to see addressed and solved. We work very hard to ensure our products are consumed safely and responsibly by adults over the age of 21, and we have a vested interest – both personal and professional – in assuring the continued responsible consumption of our products. Those that sell or provide alcohol to minors should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

"In November 2010, we proactively decided to reformulate our caffeinated alcoholic beverages ("CABs"), including Four Loko, prior to the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") action. Within days of the FDA's decision, we stopped distributing CABs and worked with our distributors to remove our CABs from the market and transition to selling our reformulated products, which do not contain caffeine, guarana or taurine. Since that time, we've been working closely with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau ("TTB") and our distributors to legally dispose of these products, and to do so in a way that promotes recycling and sustainability. Our reformulated products, which are sold in California and approved by the TTB, received similar approvals from nearly all of the states in which we do business.”


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