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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357

Attorney General Gansler Applauds FDA’s Decision to Have Alcoholic Energy Drink Manufacturers Prove That Their Products Safe

BALTIMORE, 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 are safe.”

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.


Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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