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Alcoholic Beverages: FDA Asked Four Loko, Others to Prove Drinks are Safe

Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks under FDA scrutiny.
Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks under FDA scrutiny. (CBS) CBS

(CBS) After nearly a dozen party-going students were hospitalized in Washington state and authorities put some of the blame on a drink that mixes alcohol with caffeine, a popular version of the beverage called Four Loko has taken a lot of heat. But its not the only drink that's under scrutiny.

Late last year, at the urging of a group of state attorneys general, the FDA sent letters to nearly 30 manufacturers responsible for more than 40 alcoholic energy drinks asking for proof that their products are safe.

In the letters, the FDA said it had not yet made a determination on the safety of caffeine in alcoholic beverages and wondered how the companies had done so.

"The agency is not aware of the basis upon which you have or may have concluded that your use of caffeine in an alcoholic beverage is GRAS (generally regarded as safe)," it read. "Nor are we aware of a basis for concluding that your use of caffeine in these beverages is prior sanctioned."

Many of products are marketed to look like energy drinks on grocery shelves, but can pack a real alcoholic punch.

In the case of Four Loko, the 23.5-ounce drink is 12 percent alcohol and roughly equivalent to drinking five 12-ounce beers. The drink also has about a cup's worth of coffee, according to the manufacturer.

Phusion Projects LLC., the company that makes Four Loko, tells CBS News that they responded to the FDA's request and sent them internal testing which shows their drinks are safe - in their words no different than "having coffee after a meal with a couple of glasses of wine."

CBS News reached out to the FDA to get their take on Four Loko and the other caffeinated alcoholic beverages on the market.  As soon as they weigh in, we'll bring that to you.

For now, here's a list of the manufacturers and their energy drinks that are currently on the FDA's radar.

Charge Beverages Corporation
Products: Liquid Charge, Liquid Core, High Gravity Core

United Brands Company, Inc
Products: Joose, Max Vibe, Max Fury, Max Live, 3Sum

Phusion Projects LLC
Products: Four, Four Loko, Four Maxed

Point Blank Beverages Co.
Products: Torque

Hard Wired Brewing Company, LLC
Products: Hard Wired

Mix Master Beverage Co
Products: 24/7

Catalyst Beverage Company
Products: Catalyst

New Century Brewing Company
Products: Moonshot

Melanie Brewing Co
Products: Evil Eye

Thomas Creek Brewery, LLC
Products: Mobius Lager

Diageo North America, Inc
Products: Smirnoff Raw Tea Malt Beverage

Constellation Brands
Products: Wide Eye

The P.I.N.K. Spirits Company/Prohibition Beverage Inc
Products: P.I.N.K. Vodka, P.I.N.K. Tequila, P.I.N.K. Rum, P.I.N.K. Gin, P.I.N.K. White Whiskey, P.I.N.K. Sake

Delicious Brands Inc.
Products: Lotus Vodka

Sovereign Brands
Products: 3AM Vodka

Moet Hennessey/Millennium Import LLC
Products: Belevedere IX

Shotpak Vodka
Products: Gravity Vodka

Wingard USA (Importer)
Products: V2 Vodka with Caffeine, Everglo Vodka

LeVecke Corporation
Products: Vicious Vodka with Caffeine

Rocktail Drinks/Liquid Manufacturing LLC
Products: Slingshot Party Gel

Cold Spring Brewing Company/Atomic Brands
Products: A:M Carpe Noctern

808 Spirits Co.
Products: 808 Mango Beat

Gaamm Imports Inc.
Products: Booya Espresso Silver Tequila with Caffeine

Ithaca Beer Co.
Products: Ithaca Eleven Malt Beverage with Coffee

Gluek Brewing Company
Products: Gruv Malt Beverage with Guarana

MHW, Ltd and Niche Import Company
Products: Agwa De Bolivia

Rizer Spirits Inc
Products: XZO Vodka with Caffeine, Taurine, and Guarana

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