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Monday, August 20, 2007

Ohio Atty. Gen. Marc Dann: Joins 29 Others With 'Serious Concerns' Over High-Energy Drinks

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- The attorneys general of 29 states and Guam told the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau they have "serious concerns about the formulation of alcoholic beverages that contain caffeiene and other stimulants." Ohio AG Marc Dann signed the August 20, 2007 letter complaining the popular drinks are being sold with aggressive marketing campaigns that overplay the health benefits and downplay potential risks. Young Americans are the targets.

The full-text of the six-page letter is available here (PDF). Anheuser-Busch was singled out for criticism over a product called Bud Extra, which the AG's said is marketed as a stimulant.

"Anheuser-Busch markets this drink (formerly known as 'B-to-the-E') with claims about the product's stimulating effect and its power to enable the consumer to continue to drink more. The Bud Extra Website boasts, 'Bud Extra is infused with more of everything you never knew to expect. It's flavored with ginseng, powered by caffeine and charmed with . . .guarana? Some call the tropical fruit a magical herb: the Guarani Tribe in Brazil believe it is a way to regain strength.' Promotional statements for this beverage include, 'Who's up for staying out all night,' 'Say hell to an endless night of fun,' 'Stay around for every twist of the ride,' and 'You can sleep when you are 30.'"

The AGs said they wanted federal regulators to investigated promotional claims made by numerous alcoholic energy drink makers, not just Bud. And they called on the feds to take enforcement action against any whose health-related claims are misleading. Dann and the other attorney generals said many of the drinks have alcohol content 6% or greater.

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