State Bans Alcoholic Drinks With Caffeine

Package stores and other retailers that sell drinks such as Four Loko have been ordered to remove the products from their shelves right away.

The emergency regulation from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission comes after several reports that people, especially college students, became severely drunk after consuming the drinks.

Cans of Four Loko (AP)
Cans of Four Loko (AP)

ABCC Chair Kim Gainsboro said Wednesday's action by the FDA to declare the drinks unsafe prompted the state to act right away.

"Now that the FDA has said that they are not recognized as safe, we are very concerned about individuals who are going to consume these," Gainsboro said.

The regulation means stores are prohibited from selling, storing, importing or transporting these products in Massachusetts. Alcoholic wholesalers have been told to take back the products from the stores by Dec. 3.

Gainsboro expects the retailers to cooperate fully with the ban.

But the owner of one Boston-based beer company says she doesn't know how to handle the ban. New Century Brewing Co. founder Rhonda Kallman says her company only makes two beers, and one includes a small amount of caffeine.

"I'm an entrepreneur in a struggling little company and it's cumbersome," Kallman said. "It's really gonna create issues for me. But it's bigger than that. I mean, they're talking about prohibition."

-- Here's the ABCC emergency regulation (on Scribd):

This program aired on November 18, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Steve Brown Senior Reporter/Anchor
Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.



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