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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357

Attorney General Gansler Urges Investigation of Alcoholic Energy Drinks

BALTIMORE, MD (February 21, 2008) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, joined by 15 other attorneys general, today urged the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to take immediate action to investigate allegations that Sparks and Sparks Plus alcoholic energy drinks contain unsafe levels of caffeine. (Click to see letter) The letter also requests TTB to determine if the alcohol content in Sparks 6.0% alcoholic energy drink is higher than the amounts disclosed on the label.

The request stems from a news report on February 1st by a Miami television station. The report disclosed that independent laboratory tests found that 16 ounce cans of Sparks and Sparks Plus alcoholic energy drinks contain 214mg and 215mg of caffeine respectively. Attorneys General obtained the laboratory reports from the station and discovered that the laboratory also found that Sparks 6.0 contained 6.97% alcohol by volume.

TTB limits amounts of ingredients that can be added to or found in alcoholic beverages. The limit for caffeine is 200 parts per million. The amounts of caffeine allegedly found in Sparks and Sparks Plus are more than two times the allowable limit. In addition, federal law requires containers of malt beverage to contain truthful and accurate statements of alcohol content. Sparks is labeled as containing 6.0% alcohol by volume. If Sparks 6.0 contains more than 6.0% alcohol by volume, the mislabeling of the product is a practice that is prohibited by federal law.

“Mixing dangerously high amounts of caffeine with alcohol can result in serious health consequences,” said Attorney General Gansler. “Caffeine is a stimulant that can mask feelings of intoxication, giving drinkers the false impression that they can drink more and function normally. That is a recipe for disaster.”

All of the attorneys general signing the TTB letter are members of the National Association of Attorneys General Youth Access to Alcohol Committee. The Committee has been focusing on issues related to alcopops and alcoholic energy drinks that are very popular with young drinkers.

Editor’s Note: Go to to view the video.



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