Franchot calls for halt to caffeinated alcohol in Md.
UPDATE, 1:45 p.m.: Franchot's office has released a joint letter from the Maryland Beer Wholesalers Association and the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association saying the two trade organizations have asked its members to voluntarily halt distribution of caffeinated alcoholic beverages.
"In order to act in the quickest manner, a voluntary action was needed and that is why I called for it at this morning's Board of Public Works meeting," Franchot said in a statement. "In this case, legislative action would simply have taken too long and put too many more lives at risk."
Meanwhile, the FDA has begun a crackdown, warning companies Wednesday that market the increasingly popular but dangerous beverages that the products are illegal.
Original post: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) called on the state's alcohol industry Wednesday to voluntarily halt the distribution of caffeinated alcoholic beverages, saying they constitute a "clear public health and public safety threat."
Franchot's public plea, made at a morning meeting of the Board of Public Works, comes as federal regulators are reportedly planning to crack down on the increasingly popular beverages.
Franchot, the state's chief tax collector, mentioned a news report that said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will announce as early as Wednesday that it has determined that caffeine is an unsafe substance to add to alcoholic beverages.
But Franchot -- frequently mentioned as a potential 2014 gubernatorial candidate -- said he did not want Maryland to wait for a federal regulatory action or state legislation to address the issue. He said he has had preliminary discussions and received positive feedback from the Maryland Beer Wholesalers Association and the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association.
"I'm hopeful that they will ... get these dangerous products off the shelves as soon as possible," Franchot said.
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