Iowa retailers have until Thursday to remove energy drinks that contain alcohol and caffeine from their shelves. Officials said the caffeine in the drinks masked the alcohol and could cause people to drink way too much. Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division spokesperson, Tonya Dusold says the F.D.A. found the caffeine added to the alcohol is a food additive that is not safe.
Dusold says the F.D.A. prohibits the distribution of a beverage that is not safe, so everyone should be pulling the products in their current form. Some of the affected products in Iowa include “Four Loko” and “Joose.”
Dusold says A-B-D is serving as an information source for people with questions on the issue. She says they have gone through the F.D.A. directives to try and decipher what they mean and they have information on their website on who is responsible for removing the drinks by the December second deadline.
Dusold says those who sell the drinks should be sure they know what to do with them. Dusold says it depends on the contracts they have with distributors, and A-B-D does not have any roll in distributing or taking back the products as they are considered a beer and A-B-D only distributes “spirits” or hard liquor.
The products were popular among young people, but Dusold says they don’t track how many of the drinks may have been sold. Dusold says it was a “pretty hot product” for awhile, but the sales tax paid on the drinks is lumped in with other beer sales, so they don’t have a way to separate that information out. Dusold if the drinks are not pulled by the deadline, the retailers could face penalties.
Dusold says there’s responsibility at all levels from the distributor, the wholesaler and the retailer. She says if you see the product on shelves, you should let A-B-D know. Dusold says the law prohibits licenses from “knowingly permit or engage in any criminal activity” and selling the drinks after December second would qualify.
You can find some frequently asked questions and other information about the drinks on the A-B-D website at: www.IowaABD.com.