The End of Four Loko as We Know It: The Infamous Drink Goes Decaf

>The New York Times is reporting that Phusion Projects, maker of the caffeinated alcoholic beverage Four Loko, is dropping the caffeine from its product in response to the threat of government intervention. Former Food and Drug Administration lawyers told the paper that the agency was likely to intervene with warning letters describing the drink, and others like it, as adulterated and unsafe:

The company that produces the Four Loko beverage said it will remove the caffeine and two other ingredients from its products after facing a cascade of criticism and regulatory scrutiny for producing the energy drinks, which combine high levels of the stimulant with alcohol.

The announcement comes as the Food and Drug Administration was expected to take a stand on the drinks, perhaps as early as Wednesday. The company, in a statement, acknowledged that it was acting in response to the threat of government action.

"We are taking this step after trying -- unsuccessfully -- to navigate a difficult and politically-charged regulatory environment at both the state and federal levels," said the statement issued by Phusion Projects, the maker of Four Loko.

Four Loko and drinks like it have come under scrutiny after a flurry of reports of young people getting sick after drinking the blend of alcohol and caffeine, which comes in colorful 23.5-ounce cans. Several states have made moves to ban such drinks, and New York's largest beer distributors said they would stop delivering caffeinated alcoholic beverages to retailers by Dec. 10.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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Daniel Fromson, a former associate editor at The Atlantic, is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He writes regularly for The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in Harper's Magazine, New York, and Slate.

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