Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Urges FTC to Limit Alcohol Servings in Four Loko "Binge-in-a-Can" Settlement
Attorney General Jack Conway, along with 35 other attorneys general and the San Francisco city attorney, filed comments today responding to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)'s proposed settlement with Phusion Projects, LLC regarding its deceptive marketing of the flavored malt beverage Four Loko in super-sized 12% alcohol/23.5 ounce cans.
General Conway commended the FTC for recognizing that Phusion's marketing of these super-sized drinks as single servings – as if they can be safely consumed on a single occasion – is misleading because one can contains the alcohol equivalent of almost five beers.
"Drinking one can of Four Loko, often referred to as a 'binge-in-a-can,' constitutes a real danger," General Conway said. "That's why I am calling on the FTC to adopt additional measures to address the safety risks presented by this product, such as limiting its alcohol content.
The FTC has charged Phusion with violating federal law by making false or misleading representations that a 23.5 ounce can of 12% alcohol Four Loko can be safely consumed on a single occasion and by failing to disclose the number of alcohol servings in one can. To resolve these charges, the proposed settlement requires, for containers with more than 2.5 servings of alcohol, that Phusion disclose on the label the equivalent number of regular beers and make the containers resealable. It does not, however, limit the number of alcohol servings per can.
"The settlement does not go far enough," General Conway said.
The attorneys general expressed concern that the FTC's proposed disclosure and resealability requirements alone likely will not "cure" the single serve aspects of Four Loko and other flavored malt beverages sold in individual 23.5 ounce cans and displayed in self-serve cabinets. For this reason, the attorneys general urged the FTC to amend the agreement to limit the total amount of alcohol per single-serving container of Four Loko to two standard drinks, irrespective of other requirements.
As the FTC's proposed order would make Four Loko the first and only alcoholic beverage to display the number of servings, the attorneys general also called upon the FTC to enlist public health researchers to study the impact of its new requirements, particularly on young persons.
Earlier this year, General Conway joined his fellow attorneys general in calling on Pabst Brewing Company to stop selling Blast by Colt 45, a high alcohol content malt beverage in youth-friendly flavors. In 2008, Attorney General Conway was among 24 attorneys general who successfully urged MillerCoors, LLC to abandon plans to introduce a new alcoholic energy drink, Sparks Red.
A copy of the comments filed with the FTC can be found at http://goo.gl/2v03n