The Four Loko controversy continues. Phusion Projects, the makers of Four Loko, have agreed to change the product’s labeling and packaging after the Federal Trade Commission charged them with deceptive labeling.
The FTC accused Phusion Projects of false advertisement because they claimed a 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko contained the same amount of alcohol as one or two typical 12-ounce beers and was safe for a consumer to drink in a single sitting.
According to the FTC, this is not the case at all. A can of Four Loko contains about as much alcohol as four or five 12-ounce cans of beer and can be dangerous to drink at one time. No wonder the product has been called “a blackout in a can.”
Four Loko became a target last year after consumer groups and regulators began complaining about the potentially lethal concoction. The drink contained about the same amount of caffeine as four cups of coffee and caused many consumers to become violently ill.
The FTC issued warnings to Four Loko and three other companies last November saying their caffeinated alcoholic beverages were unsafe, causing Phusion Projects to remove caffeine from the drink’s list of ingredients.
Four Loko’s new labels will compare the amount of alcohol in a can of Four Loko to the amount in a regular beer along with a disclaimer stating, “This can has as much alcohol as 4 regular (12 oz. 5 percent/alc/vol) beers.” The company will also be packaging resealable containers.
Phusion co-founder Jaisen Freeman felt that his company advertised Four Loko honestly.
“Even though we reached an agreement, we don’t share the FTC’s perspective, and we disagree with their allegations,” Freeman said.
The agreement is subject to a 30-day trial period before it will receive final approval and become effective.