Attorney General Janet T. Mills Announces Alcoholic Energy Drink ?Joose" Will No Longer Be Sold In Maine

November 19, 2010

Contact: Kate Simmons (207) 626-8577

Augusta ? Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills applauded the action of all four Maine distributors of Joose in agreeing to stop selling this alcoholic energy drink (AED) to Maine retailers. The distribution companies Federal Distributors, Maine Distributors, National Distributors and Valley Distributors took this action voluntarily in response to findings by the Food and Drug Administration that the addition of caffeine to Joose made this product unsafe.

AEDs are alcoholic beverages to which caffeine and other stimulants, such as guarana, have been added at the point of manufacture. Packaged in 23.5 ounce cans resembling energy drinks with fruit flavors like Fruit Punch, Lemonade and Watermelon, some AEDs like Four Loko contain the alcohol equivalent of 5 or 6 beers and the caffeine equivalent of 4 to 5 colas or 1.5 to 2 cups of coffee in just one can.

Alcoholic energy drinks (AEDs) have been subject to Attorney General scrutiny since 2008, when under pressure from State Attorneys General, Anheuser Busch InBev NV and MillerCoors LLC agreed to remove caffeine guarana and other stimulants from drinks such as MillerCoors Sparks and Anheuser's Tilt.

In September of 2009, Attorney General Mills joined other state attorneys general in urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take a stand against high levels of caffeine in alcoholic drinks. This week the FDA responded by informing seven manufacturers of AEDs that their products were not regarded as safe and effectively banned their sale.

As a result of the FDA action, all four distributors of Joose in Maine have agreed to stop selling Joose in this state. Four Loko, another drink that was the subject of the FDA action, was never sold in Maine because the manufacturer never applied to have it accepted and registered here.

"I have reviewed and relied on scientific evidence that demonstrate the dangers of mixing caffeine with alcohol. As these studies show, stimulants such as caffeine appear to mask the intoxicating effects of alcohol, which can lead to increased risk taking and other serious alcohol-related problems such as traffic accidents,? said Attorney General Mills. ?The effects of these drinks are particularly harmful because they drinks are aggressively marketed to young people."

Attorney General Mills applauded both the FDA action and the actions by Maine?s distributors as a reasonable response to a serious public safety issue.