States Seek Fed Crackdown On Energy Drinks
BOSTON - The attorneys general of 28 states, Washington D.C., and Guam asked the federal government on Tuesday to crack down on the makers of energy drinks with alcohol and caffeine, arguing their advertisements don't warn of health and safety risks.
"Combining alcohol with caffeine hardly seems healthy - and that false claim is what we seek to halt," said Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
The group targeted Miller Brewing Co, Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc and Charge Beverages, saying each runs ad campaigns that might include potentially misleading health-related claims.
In a letter to John Manfreda, the administrator of the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the state officials said the beverage makers are wooing young people with "outlandish" and "outrageous" health-related claims.
Anheuser-Busch says its Bud Extra allows drinkers to "Say hello to an endless night of fun" and "Stay around for every twist of the ride."
"Beverage companies are fueling a runaway marketing train," Blumenthal said, speaking for the entire group. "Alcoholic energy drinks perniciously appeal to youth -- and beverage companies are clearly capitalizing on it," he added.
"It is not accurate to call Bud Extra an 'energy beer,' Anheuser-Busch spokeswoman Francine Katz said. She added, "This product is simply a malt beverage that contains caffeine, and it is clearly marked as containing alcohol."
"This is not a bad thing for us at all. We comply with all marketing standards for alcohol beverages," said Tim Baggs, president and chief executive officer of Charge Beverages.
Miller Brewing Company could not immediately be reached.
The group also asked Manfreda to investigate ingredients in the alcoholic energy drinks and other flavored malt beverages to see if they are properly classified as malt beverages under federal law.
Attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming are also involved in the matter.
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