If there has ever been a drink to garner enough
media attention and debate over the safety of its consumption, that drink has
to be Four Loko. Recently, the FDA and law enforcement officials, as well as several
states, have taken steps to ban the malt-liquor-caffeinated drink from being distributed.
Phusion Project, the Chicago-based manufacturer of Four Loko, received
a warning letter from the FDA and agreed to remove the caffeine from their product
in order to prevent the FDA from blocking their product completely.
Loko has been blamed for the recent events which led to the hospitalization of
nine Central Washington University undergraduates due to over consumption of Four
Loko and other liquors.
According to scientists, the addition of caffeine
in alcohol can be very dangerous because the caffeine can take away the usual
drowsiness and relaxation that comes with normal drinking, and can therefore lead
I don't think Phusion Projects should be held accountable
for actions of consumers-- who are out of control. No matter what, adults and
young adults are going to mix alcohol with caffeine, it doesn't matter whether
or not the drink is prepackaged, the beverage will be out. In fact, the idea for
this drink had to come from somewhere, and it did. In 2005, three Ohio state students
came up with Four Loko after noticing that students were combining alcohol and
caffeine at bars.
Companies cannot be held responsible for the irresponsible
actions of consumers--which are often underage drinkers--because they are ultimately
responsible for themselves.
Take big tobacco companies for example; they
are well known for the manufacturing and distribution of cigarettes, cigars and
other tobacco based products. It is also well known that smoking can lead to lung
cancer and potential brain damage.
Despite knowing this and despite the
many scientific studies supporting this evidence, the FDA does nothing. The regulation
of the sale of tobacco products is basically the same as the alcohol drinking
age regulation. Even though they are different, they represent the same thing;
both alcohol and tobacco are restricted to the public until such time that society
thinks it is a good age for people to make their own decisions.
is it then, that big tobacco companies continue profiting over the sale of their
harmful products? How is it different? Why does the tobacco industry get the ";luxury"
of continuing the sale of cigarettes to the public and allowing the public to
make the decision to smoke or not smoke? This is bias. Phusion projects has the
right, the same say as any other company, to continue selling their product--as
originally formulated--and allowing the public to make their own conscious decisions.
In the long run, the ban on caffeinated-alcoholic beverages such as Four
Loko is pointless. No matter if it is prepackaged or not, the drinks will be out
there, with just as much, if not, more potent ingredients that can result in something
It is understandable why one might think that the manufacture
is as much responsible for their product as the consumer is for his/her actions.
Yes, ingredients that have been known to be dangerous when combined together have
been introduced into Four Loko, but consumption of this beverage, in correct quantities,
can show to be very safe.
The alcoholic beverage, with a caffeine kick,
briefly captured the hearts of America's youth. Then came the crackdown. There
is no need, and no point, for the ban against the original formulation of Four
Loko simply because American citizens should be allowed to decide for themselves
between what they want to drink and what they don't. They shouldn't be parented
by the government. Unfair pressure by the FDA has led to the reformulation of
Phusion Project's product, which could potentially lead to the decline of sales.
Every company has the right to the distribution of their product and it is bias
if this is an exception.
Omar is a student at Watsonville High
School in Wastonville, Calif. Special thanks to English teacher Marvilyn Quiroz
for requiring her students to submit editorials to NewsHour Extra as a final project.