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FDA To Investigate Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks

November 14, 2009

The US Food And Drug Administration on Friday announced the launch of an investigation into the “safety and legality” of caffeinated alcoholic beverages.

The FDA said it has notified 30 manufacturers of alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine in light of new study results that show the prevalence of US college students’ consumption of such products was as high as 26 percent.

“The increasing popularity of consumption of caffeinated alcoholic beverages by college students and reports of potential health and safety issues necessitates that we look seriously at the scientific evidence as soon as possible,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner.

The FDA cited the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, that states any substance added intentionally to food is “deemed “Ëœunsafe’ and is unlawful unless its particular use has been approved by FDA regulation, the substance is subject to a prior sanction, or the substance is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).”

Furthermore, the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau requires alcoholic beverages to only contain approved ingredients that meet FDA standards.

The group also noted that it received a letter from 18 Attorneys General and one city attorney in September in which authors expressed concerns over the safety of caffeinated alcoholic beverages.

The regulatory group said it has not approved the use of caffeine in alcoholic beverages and therefore those products can be lawfully marketed only if their use is subject to a prior sanction or is GRAS.

The FDA said that companies with caffeinated alcoholic beverages must provide “evidence of their rationale, with supporting data and information, for concluding that the use of caffeine in their product is GRAS or prior sanctioned,” within 30 days.

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