Fruit flavoured, sugar drinks, ol combine sugar, caffiene or cafeine substitute and alcohol, with 12% or even 14% alcohol.

Fruit flavoured, *energy beers* or *premium malt beverages* combine sugar, caffeine or caffeine substitute with 11.9% alcohol.
Photo Credit: Radio-Canada

New beverage greatly worries medical officials.

Recently  Canadian paediatricians expressed great concern about the misuse and overuse of so-called “sports drinks” and “energy drinks” by young people.   This is because of the levels of sugar and caffeine in the drinks, which can cause medical issues when taken in large quanitites. At least one young person in the U.S. is known to have died from an apparent overdose of caffeine after consuming several drinks in a short period.

Now in Canada, medical staff are alarmed at a new and even more worrisome product on the market which combines those products with high levels of alcohol. Several experts say the highly alcoholic drinks are clearly aimed at young people.

“I don’t understand why you can put the equivalent of four drinks in one, and it can be legal, and add sugar. Everything in that drink is targeting young people,” Émilie Dansereau-Trahan, Quebec Association for Public Health

One such drink, “Four Loko” in 586ml tins currently marketed in Quebec, shows it has 12% alcohol and the equivalent of 13 teaspoons of sugar in each tin, according to a Radio-Canada story.

Jean-François Pellerin, director of ambulance operations in the eastern townships of Quebec says there’s been an upswing in calls for extreme intoxication of young people due to these drinks
Jean-François Pellerin, director of ambulance operations in the eastern townships of Quebec says there’s been an upswing in calls for extreme intoxication of young people due to these drinks © Radio-Canada

Made in the U.S. the drink was pulled from the market and reformulated  after several teens ended up in hospital.  It also had to agree not to market on U.S campuses, and not use models in advertising under the age of 25.

FourLoko advertising has since appeared at universities in Quebec.

Another newly arrived product made in Quebec is called FCKDUP, an extremely thinly disguised name for a common expression among young people “F*cked- up” which can mean extremely intoxicated.

A Montreal ER doctor, Robert Foxford, says the makers of high-alcohol content premixed beverages such as FCKD UP, the new sweet and caffeinated flavoured malt beverage launched in Quebec, cross ethical boundaries by marketing to young people.
A Montreal ER doctor, Robert Foxford, says the makers of high-alcohol content premixed beverages such as FCKD UP, the new sweet and caffeinated flavoured malt beverage launched in Quebec, cross ethical boundaries by marketing to young people. © fckdup.ca

Pre-mixed drinks with alcohol and caffeine  are prohibited in Canada, but  both fruity drinks contain “artificial caffeine”. The Quebec product also contains 11.9 % alcohol.

Both companies responded to CBC and Radio-Canada requests saying they take marketing to adults of legal drinking age very seriously, and comply or go beyond government requirements regarding labelling and marketing to minors.

Hubert Sacy- EducAlcool * it’s extremely clear they are targetting young people*
Hubert Sacy- Educ’alcool * it’s extremely clear they are targetting young people* © Radio-Canada

Éduc’alcool is a Qeubec non-profit organization to promote awareness of alcohol related issues and concerns. In a Radio-Canada story, director-general  Hubert Sacy says the products are like a poison that risks becoming an epidemic health issue adding that the companies marketing which targets young people, is immoral.

He says (in a loose translation), “ It’s targeting young people with its colours and design, but it’s legal because there are no laws against it”.

Émilie Dansereau-Trahan says the fact these companies are able to market such products within the Health Canada rules shows the rules need to change.

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One comment on “New beverage greatly worries medical officials.
  1. jim cowan says:

    Big business is intent on making big earnings and nothing else. There may of course be exceptions but …well name some ? From guns and bombs to foodstuffs and beverages ,the good of the customer matters little if at all. Business needs a revolution of its own and it’s not about to happen whilst Trump is president of the US .