The FDA is expected to reach a decision by Wednesday regarding whether or not alcoholic energy drinks like Four Loko are safe and should be legal, according to the New York Times.
At this point, it seems most likely that the Food and Drug Administration will issue a letter of warning to the infamous drink's manufacturers, Phusion Projects, telling them that the concoctions have been deemed unsafe. Once presented with the letter Phusion will have to decide whether to shut down, fight back or create a safer alternative to their current product.
Caffeinated alcoholic beverages have been in FDA review for one year, primarily because the potency and effect of the mixed drinks has not been thoroughly researched. Still, some scientists suggested early on that combining caffeine with alcohol is potentially harmful. As Wake Forest University professor Dr. Mary Claire O'Brien told the Times:
There's a particular interaction that goes on in the brain when they are consumed simultaneously. The addition of the caffeine impairs the ability of the drinker to tell when they're drunk. What is the level at which it becomes dangerous? We don't know that, and until we can figure it out, the answer is that no level is safe.
The FDA's urgency may be attributed to the rising number of states that have decided to ban the drink and the recent crop of Four Loko-related hospitalizations. Such cases prompted the Oregon Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission to urge the FDA to come to a conclusion - and fast.
Check out some reasons to stay away from Four Loko (and other like drinks) here. What do you think of the possible ban? Weigh in below.