The maker of a sweet alcoholic drink called Four Loko will start disclosing on its labels that its supersize cans contain as much alcohol as four to five cans of beer, federal regulators announced Monday.
Phusion Projects agreed to relabel its Four Loko beverages under pressure from the Federal Trade Commission, which has confronted the company more than once about its advertising practices. The Chicago-based company did not admit any wrongdoing, but in a statement it said it will relabel its malt drinks to better inform consumers.
Federal regulators started cracking down on the company and others that sell similar fruity-tasting, high-alcohol malt beverages after claims that the drinks were linked to the deaths of teenagers in several states in recent years, including a 15-year-old Centreville boy who died more than a year ago after allegedly drinking two cans of Four Loko.
In November, the FTC and the Food and Drug Administration warned Phusion and three other alcoholic malt beverage makers that the caffeine and other stimulants added to their drinks were dangerous because “caffeine can mask the sense of intoxication.” All four companies removed the stimulants from the products at issue.