Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Caffeine and booze

In case you haven’t heard:  The federal Food and Drug Administration sent out word yesterday that it considers drinks like Four Loko — which blend alcohol and caffeine — unsafe and illegal.

“FDA does not find support for the claim that the addition of caffeine to these  alcoholic beverages is ‘generally recognized as safe,’ which is the legal standard,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Principal Deputy Commissioner in a statement.  “To the contrary, there is evidence that the combinations of caffeine and alcohol in these products pose a public health concern.”

The FDA warned that it might seize the products and gave the companies 15 days to provide “the specific steps that will be taken to remedy the violation and prevent its recurrence,” according to a statement.

Readers of Healthy Living may remember two stories we’ve run in the past year about these drinks, which can contain as much alcohol as four beers plus as much caffeine as a strong cup of coffee. The danger is that people who consume them can easily overdo it. They’re especially popular with college students.

Here are links to the two stories we’ve run in Healthy Living, so you can learn more:


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