State attorneys general raise questions about “binge-in-a-can” settlement
OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, along with 33 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 deceptive marketing of the flavored malt beverage "Four Loko" in super-sized cans.
McKenna commended the FTC for recognizing that Phusion’s marketing of these super-sized drinks as single servings is misleading because one can contains the alcohol equivalent of almost five beers. McKenna also called on the FTC to adopt additional measures to address the safety risks presented by Four Loko, such as limiting its alcohol content to no more than two servings of alcohol per can.
“This product, which is heavily marketed to young drinkers, poses a health risk serious enough to require the FTC to put in place common-sense requirements relating to alcohol content,” McKenna said.
In the deceptive marketing case, the FTC charged Phusion with violating federal law by making false or misleading representations that a 23.5 ounce can of 12 percent alcohol can be safely consumed on a single occasion and by failing to disclose the number of alcohol servings in each can. 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 containers resealable.
The attorneys general expressed concern that the FTC’s proposed disclosure and can design requirements alone will not sufficiently reduce the public health risks related to Four Loko and other flavored malt beverages sold in large 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.
Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725