Urge NC’s Congressional delegation to oppose this deal
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
“A License to Kill Youth” — that’s what Alcohol Justice is calling the Federal Trade Commission’s agreement with Four Loko producers.
The Christian Action League is joining the industry watchdog to ask North Carolina residents to contact their U.S. Senators and Representatives and urge them to pressure the FTC to withdraw its “sweetheart deal” with Phusion Projects and seriously address the dangers this “Binge-in-a-can” presents.
“We were glad to see the FTC taking up the issue and ensuring more accurate labeling, but as Alcohol Justice points out, what truly needs to be done is to lower the alcohol by volume content and limit the container size,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “These super-sized alcopops are truly recipes for disaster.”
The deal, which has been open to comment for the past 60 days or so, allowed Phusion to avoid admitting any wrongdoing even though an FTC probe revealed deceptive marketing practices. It required additional labeling to show that one 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko contains as much alcohol as 4.5 regular beers and a new resealable cap.
“It’s absurd to think a cap will stop a youth from consuming an entire can,” wrote Sarah Mart, director of research at Alcohol Justice in a recent press release. “This insider deal is based on neither science nor common sense.”
Alcohol Justice also pointed to the potential political implications of the FTC agreement as some states consider legislation that would limit single-serve containers to 12 ounces with 6 percent alcohol by volume. The organization said a precedent setting federal action like the proposed Phusion agreement will undermine state regulatory efforts and give the producers of supersized alcopops something to hide behind.
Another fear expressed by Alcohol Justice is that the new labeling will become a marketing device of sorts rather than a warning.
“Youth will be drawn to the higher alcohol content supersized containers that are cheaper than giant energy drinks,” said Bruce Lee Livingston, executive director of the San Francisco-based organization.
In a mass e-mail Alcohol Justice thanked all those who had contacted the FTC to ask for tighter restrictions on container size and alcohol content and urged them to take the next step by calling or e-mailing their lawmakers in Washington.
“Now it’s time for the leaders of the Congressional FTC oversight committees to tell the FTC to stop the bad deal with Phusion,” the e-mail states. “The sweetheart deal benefits the corporation at the expense of public health and safety.”
“It’s still a binge in a can, and youth will still be able to consume 23.5 ounce containers of 12 percent alcohol,” Alcohol Justice reiterates.
Dr. Creech said Four Loko and similar alcopops would not be on North Carolina store shelves were it not for ill-advised 2005 legislation that increased limits for alcohol content on malt beverages.
“Since the state opened wide the door to these dangerous products, we’re now having to look to our federal lawmakers and policy organizations like the FTC to offer a modicum of protection,” he said.
“Please first make sure members of your own family aren’t enticed by Phusion’s youth-oriented marketing of Four Loko,” Dr. Creech added. “Then call your lawmakers to ask them to press FTC to nix the deal on the table and more strictly address ABV content and container size.”
Take Christian Action:
Click on to the link from Alcohol Justice to send your message to North Carolina’s lawmakers. The Christian Action League urges you to do this by clicking here