242054 A successful case study in using legal tools to ban caffeinated alcoholic beverages

Monday, October 31, 2011: 8:30 AM

Michele Simon, JD, MPH , Eat Drink Politics, Oakland, CA
In November 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that caffeine is an illegal additive in alcoholic beverages. While the media focused all its attention on the FDA, this action was actually the culmination of a four-year campaign that was waged on numerous different levels. Among the most important players was a committee of state attorneys general who fought against these products both in public and private. While the state attorneys general threatened litigation against the makers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages, advocacy groups proposed state legislative bans or regulatory action. All of these efforts ultimately led to the federal government taking regulatory action, thus providing important lessons on the interaction between state and federal legal action.

This presentation will describe how various factors, including scientific research, media advocacy, public and private litigation, state-based legislation, and state and federal regulation all came together to overcome fierce opposition on the part of the alcohol industry to get dangerous products off the market. This case study provides many important lessons for public health advocates on how to apply an array of legal tools.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify harms associated with caffeine in alcohol Describe various legal tools applied to ban caffeinated alcoholic beverages Compare federal, state, and local legal actions Discuss how law, research, media, and advocacy came together for victory

Keywords: Advocacy, Alcohol

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 15 years in field of public health law
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.