General Gansler Applauds FDA’s Decision to Have Alcoholic
Energy Drink Manufacturers Prove That Their Products Safe
MD ( November 13, 2009) - Attorney General Douglas
F. Gansler today joined Attorneys General from 17 state Attorneys
General and the San Francisco City Attorney in applauding the
Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to request
manufacturers of alcoholic energy drinks (AEDs) provide the
agency with support for the claim that the use of caffeine
and other stimulants in alcoholic beverages is Generally Recognized
As Safe (GRAS) under FDA regulations.
AEDs are a class of alcoholic beverages to which caffeine and
other stimulants, such as guarana, have been added at the point
of manufacture. On September 25, 2009 the Attorneys General wrote
to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration,
to suggest that the FDA examine whether the use of caffeine in
alcoholic beverages is considered GRAS under FDA regulations.
“Alcoholic energy drinks are nothing more than amped-up-alcopops
that look like non-alcohol energy drinks,” said Attorney
General Gansler. “These drinks are popular with young people
who wrongly believe that the caffeine will offset the intoxicating
effects of the alcohol. These beliefs are fueled by unconscionable
aggressive marketing campaigns that target our youth and promise
endless nights of fun and enhanced abilities. I applaud the FDA’s
decision today to have the manufacturers prove that their products
YAAC members strongly believe that the use of caffeine and other
stimulants as additives to alcoholic beverages poses a serious
public health risk. The goal of the YAAC is to have AEDs removed
from the marketplace.
The members of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG)
Youth Access to Alcohol Committee (YAAC) have a longstanding concern
regarding AEDs. In 2008, Attorneys General of 13 States and the
San Francisco City Attorney initiated investigations of the two
leading manufacturers of AEDs: MillerCoors Brewing and Anheuser-Busch,
Inc. The investigations concluded with the two companies agreeing
to cease production of caffeinated alcoholic beverages altogether.
Despite this success, the remaining AED manufacturers quickly filled
the void left in the marketplace by MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch
with products packaged in larger volume containers and containing
a higher percentage of alcohol than was seen with the MillerCoors
and Anheuser-Busch products.
Today’s announcement gives the manufacturers 30 days to
respond to the FDA’s request.