The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy organization in the country, today applauded the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for issuing a modified Order against Phusion Projects LLC. The order addresses false claims made by the company regarding the alcohol content of its popular product, Four Loko. Specifically, the claim that “a 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko contains the alcohol equivalent of one or two regular 12-ounce beers” was ruled false. The modified order requires that the company apply to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) for approval to include an alcohol facts panel on the product. This label would include information about alcohol content, serving size, and servings per container. Additionally, the cans must be redesigned so they are re-sealable, allowing the consumer to drink the product in multiple sittings.
“We thank the FTC for its strong enforcement action that serves the interests of consumers in several important ways,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL’s executive director. “It is important that consumers are fully aware of how much alcohol they are consuming when they choose a beverage. NCL and other consumer groups have been working for years to get more information about nutritional facts and alcohol content included on these products.”
Four Loko first came to the public’s attention several years ago when concerns were raised over its combination of alcohol and caffeine, a blend which had caused the beverage to gain popularity with college students. After media coverage about college students who ended up in the hospital after consuming the beverage, and indications that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was planning to take action, Four Loko was reformulated to remove the caffeine. However, even with this reformulation, significant concerns about the product remained.
According to the FTC’s modified Order, Phusion Projects, LLC has 90 days to include the required label on its products. “We urge TTB to approve an alcohol facts panel label for Four Loko and to move forward on stalled rulemaking to implement such labels on all alcoholic products,” said Greenberg. “The decision by FTC represents another victory in the fight to ensure consumers are given robust and honest information with which they can make informed consumption decisions.”