Maker of Four Loko to stop shipments to NY state

NEW YORK - (AP) - New York's largest beer distributors have agreed to stop selling caffeinated alcoholic drinks that come in tall, colorful cans and to purge their inventory of the products, the state's Liquor Authority said in a statement.

New York's liquor regulators said that they had determined therewas insufficient evidence to show that the products were safe.

"We have an obligation to keep products that are potentiallyhazardous off the shelves, and there is simply not enough researchto show that these products are safe," said Dennis Rosen, chairmanof the state Liquor Authority, in the statement.

It was not immediately clear which distributors had signed on tothe voluntary ban, but the state Beer Wholesalers Association wasquoted in the statement as saying it applauded the liquor authorityfor its "willingness to work with the industry."

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer commended the deal, which came a fewmonths after he called on the Federal Trade Commission toinvestigate whether beverage companies were tailoring marketing ofthe drinks to underage drinkers.

"This is a giant step forward keeping our kids safe from thesetoxic and dangerous brews," he said in a statement. But he saidsmaller distributors also needed to agree to stop selling thedrinks.

The popular drinks, which can have up to four times as muchalcohol as four beers and have cartoon-worthy names like Four Loko,have been banned in Washington, Michigan, Utah and Oklahoma.

The maker of Four Loko has agreed to stop shipments to New York state. Gov. David Paterson and the State Liquor Authority announced theagreement today with Phusion Products, which makes the drink. The company said it wanted to be known for cooperation, not controversy.

College students have been hospitalized after drinking thebeverages, including in New Jersey, where one school banned them oncampus.

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