Topeka The state of Kansas on Monday ordered that a new wave of energy drinks that include caffeine and alcohol be pulled from the shelves.
The ruling by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control was put in place immediately and affects all flavors of Four Loko, Four Maxed, Joose and Max. Distributors were ordered to retrieve all unsold packages of those products no later than Dec. 1.
Kansas officials acted after an announcement last week by the Food and Drug Administration, which said the drinks were not safe.
“The division’s concern for the health, safety and welfare of Kansas citizens along with the FDA’s recent ruling validate that these products should no longer be on Kansas shelves,” said Tom Groneman, director of the ABC.
A typical alcohol energy drink is 24 ounces and has 12 percent alcohol content, which is three to four times the alcohol content of a 12-ounce beer.
In a notice sent to suppliers and distributors of alcoholic energy drinks in Kansas, Groneman rescinded previous approval of the product.
Under state law, Groneman has broad discretionary powers to govern alcoholic drinks in a manner to protect the public health.
In his note, Groneman said: “General knowledge indicates that the combination of stimulants (caffeine and other ingredients founds in energy drinks) and depressants (alcohol) can place an undue strain on the heart and central nervous system, cause dehydration, and hinder the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol. Based on the FDA’s finding and general knowledge of the effects of caffeine and alcohol on the human body, I find that these alcoholic drinks do not promote the public health and welfare and must be withdrawn from sale in Kansas.”
Kansas joins at least two other states, Michigan and Washington, that have stopped the sale of the products.
Phusion Projects, the Chicago company that makes Four Loko, had announced earlier this month that it would reformulate its product to remove the caffeine. The company said the combination of alcohol and caffeine was safe but said it was changing because of the “politically charged regulatory environment at both the state and federal levels.”