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Binge-in-a-Can Drink, Four Loko, Gets Slap on Wrist from Feds

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed a settlement with Phusion Projects, LLC, regarding claims that it engaged in deceptive marketing of its flavored malt beverage, Four Loko. Phusion markets the super-sized drinks as single servings that can be safely consumed on a single occasion. But just one can of Four Loko currently contains almost as much alcohol as five beers.

Thirty-four state attorneys general, including North Carolina’s Roy Cooper, would like to see even more limits placed on the super-sized, fruit flavored alcoholic beverage, which comes in 23.5 ounce cans and contains 12 percent alcohol.

“Binge-in-a-can beverages put young people at risk of becoming quickly and dangerously drunk,” Cooper said. “These changes are a welcome first step, but Four Loko needs to do more.”

The FTC charged Phusion with violating federal law by making false or misleading representations that a can of Four Loko can be safely consumed on a single occasion and by failing to disclose the number of alcohol servings in one can. For containers with more than 2.5 servings of alcohol, the proposed settlement would require Phusion to disclose on the label the equivalent number of regular beers and make the containers resealable. The settlement does not, however, limit the number of alcohol servings per can.

The state attorneys general are concerned that FTC’s proposed requirements alone are not enough and are urging the FTC to further limit the total amount of alcohol per container of Four Loko.

The attorneys general also called upon the FTC to enlist public health researchers to study the impact of the new requirements contained in the settlement, particularly on young people.