20101117  fda investigates dangers of new caffeinated alco 18
Cans of Four Loko are seen in the liquor department of a Kwik Stop store on October 27, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether the drinks are safe for consumers after complaints that the fruit flavored malt beverage keeps consumers from realizing how intoxicated they are leading to possible alcohol poisoning. - 


JEREMY HOBSON: The maker of the popular caffeinated alcohol drink FourLoko says it will be taking the caffeine out of its beverages. Drinks like FourLoko have come under fire after being linked to two deaths and many hospitalizations.

Marketplace's Stacey Vanek-Smith has more.

STACEY VANEK-SMITH: This Four Loko music video shows a room full of passed out teens. Critics of Four Loko have dubbed the drink "blackout in a can". Now the maker of Four Loko is removing caffeine from its products just as the Food and Drug Administration is expected to ban drinks that blend alcohol and caffeine. Senator Chuck Schumer said in a press conference that the drinks are dangerous.

CHUCK SCHUMER: Four cans of beer -- same amount of alcohol -- two cups of coffee -- same amount of caffeine. There ought to be big letters across this at the very minimum that say "Be very careful."

Four Loko generates about $200 million a year in sales and costs around $5 a can. Washington, Michigan, Utah and Oklahoma have already banned Four Loko and other similar drinks.

In New York, I'm Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.