Submission Number: 00005
Received: 10/26/2011 1:11:43 PM
Commenter: Anita Woods
Organization: Scott County Schools
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Phusion Projects, LLC; Jaisen Freeman; Christopher Hunter; and Jeffrey Wright; FTC File No. 112 3084
Attachments: No Attachments
In response to the Phusion Projects proposed consent agreement, the Commission received six identical comments, and a representative copy of those comments is found below.
Talking Points on FTC Settlement with Phusion Projects (maker of Four Loko): • We are grateful that the FTC has found the product packaging and marketing strategies of Phusion Projects, LLC (maker of Four Loko) to be unfair and deceptive through explicit and implicit association of their 12% abv, 23.5 oz product with single-serve beverages. • Nonetheless, the proposed settlement would formalize the acceptability of single-serve alcoholic beverages containing up to 2.5 servings of alcohol, while the FTC’s own previous opinion (involving Cisco Wine) defined a single serving container to be one containing no more than 1.4 standard servings of alcohol. • To formalize 2.5 servings of alcohol as an acceptable size for a single-serving container would undermine federal guidelines for moderate drinking, defined as no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Research shows that exceeding the recommended limit for moderate drinking can lead to serious adverse health and safety outcomes. • While the inclusion of labels identifying the alcohol content in beer equivalents will create better informed consumers, there is not yet evidence to suggest it will reduce binge drinking. This remedy warrants more study before being implemented as outlined in the settlement, as it creates a real danger that the proposed label will merely encourage even larger numbers of price-savvy drinkers to recognize Four Loko as a cheap binge compared with beer. • Neither is there yet adequate evidence that merely requiring containers to be re-sealable will effectively counteract the marketing strategies employed by the makers of Four Loko and other similar products--strategies which almost uniformly imply their product is meant to be consumed in a single serving and that consuming the entire container is normal, enjoyable, and safe. • In light of the enhanced risks Four Loko and other similar products pose to youth, this settlement should require even greater oversight of and accountability for Phusion Projects’ marketing practices relative to the youth market.