FDA Targets Alcoholic Energy Drinks

The federal government is taking aim at energy drinks that mix alcohol and caffeine, a move that might have an effect on Oregon personal injury lawsuits. As reported by both the New York Times and the Associated Press, the Food and Drug Administration recently sent letters to 30 drink manufacturers challenging them to prove that their products are safe, or else it will “take appropriate action to ensure that the products are removed from the marketplace.” The government is giving the drink makers 30 days to demonstrate that their products are safe.

The FDA was acting in response to a letter of concern signed by 17 state attorneys general, the Attorney General of Guam and San Francisco’s City Attorney. Oregon’s attorney general was not among the signers, but a federal move to pull the drinks from shelves would effect the entire country and could create product liability in Portland and elsewhere in the state under Oregon’s personal injury laws.

According to the Times, FDA scientists worry that the drinks can lead to increased risks of serious injuries among their users, who skew heavily toward college students. The drinks mixture of alcohol (usually malt liquor) and caffeine can lead users to underestimate just how drunk they are. The drinks often provide, as the newspaper put it, “a false sense of confidence that they can perform tasks they are too impaired to undertake.”
These dangerous drinks can create Oregon product liability and lead to Portland personal injuries or even an Oregon wrongful death. Some manufacturers appear to be aware of this. In the last year Anheuser-Busch has removed the caffeine from its flavored malt beverages and MillerCoors has stopped selling products like this entirely, according the Associated Press. Such moves, however, do not necessarily exempt the drink makers from liability were a Portland wrongful death to occur through the use of their products.

Even though Oregon’s attorney general has not become directly involved in this issue, an Oregon personal injury and product liability lawyer can offer advice and assistance if you believe you or a loved-one has been involved in an accident in which caffeinated energy drinks were a factor.

New York Times: F.D.A. Says it May Ban Alcoholic Drinks With Caffeine

AP (republished at Huffington Post): FDA Questions Safety of Alcoholic Energy Drinks

FDA statement announcing its investigation