A few years ago, colleges were just one of many environments that was obsessed with Four Loko, an energy drink that also had alcohol in its contents. However, following complaints that the drinks were responsible for multiple hospitalizations and deaths, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made an announcement that the company is now required to alter its marketing.
Phusion Projects, Four Loko’s creator, now must update its printed labels. According to the Associated Press, the drinks previously advertised that a 23.5 ounce can of the drink contained the alcoholic equivalent of one or two 12-ounce beers. However, Four Loko has been determined to contain, in reality, about four or five beers’ worth of alcohol.
While Four Loko has not had caffeine in its products since November 2010, its new labels will be required to print an “Alcohol Facts” panel on all containers of Four Loko or any other flavored malt beverage that has more than two servings of alcohol.
Chemical and Engineering News recently released its own findings about recommended dosages of caffeine. According to the source, the daily limit for a healthy adult should be 400mg. Health Canada, though, said that a 16 ounce cup of coffee from Starbucks contains 330mg.
“People often don’t understand the potential risk of these beverages,” University of Florida’s director of forensic toxicology, Bruce Goldberger, told Chemical and Engineering News. “Caffeine is a stimulant and, when consumed at high enough levels, can have negative effects.”
Drugs like caffeine and alcohol can have varied effects on individuals, especially when taken in large doses. Food and drink makers would be wise to design custom labels that find the right balance between being informative and also unique enough to catch consumers’ eyes.