Four Loko agrees to change labels amid federal pressure

Mixing caffeine and alcohol is nothing new, but according to a new FDA warning, drinks that mix the two are now out of line and off limits. On Nov. 16, 2010, the agency sent warning letters to the maker of Four Loko, a popular caffeinated alcoholic drink, and four other companies, explaining that the government doesn't consider their drinks safe and seizure of their products might be forthcoming. Proponents say good riddance to a drink that has been tied to sickened college students. But health police watchers think the ban on Four Loko is just a little crazy.
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Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks under FDA scrutiny.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) Four Loko is about to undergo yet another makeover.

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The makers of the alcoholic drink have agreed to change its labeling after the Federal Trade Commission charged them with "deceptive advertising." The company had claimed the drink had an alcohol equivalent of two beers, when in fact it contains as much alcohol as four to five beers.

Phusion Projects - Four Loko's manufactuer- said the new label will read "This can has as much alcohol as 4-1/2 regular (12 oz, 5 pct alc/vol) beers."

But that doesn't mean it agrees with the FTC's ruling.

"Even though we reached an agreement, we don't share the FTC's perspective and we disagree with their allegations," the company told Reuters. "However, we take legal compliance very seriously and we share the FTC's interest in making sure consumers get all the information and tools they need to make smart, informed decisions."

The FTC argued that drinking one can of Four Loko in a single sitting constitutes health officials' definition of  "binge drinking."

This isn't the first time the federal government went after Four Loko. Last year, the fruit-flavored malt drink was in the FDA's crosshairs because its caffeine content "posed a public health concern," after incidents of college students being hospitalized from drinking the cocktail, CBS News reported. The company has since removed caffeine from its drinks.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says alcohol control boards in at least 13 states have banned Four Loko.