October 3/Chicago/Third Age-- Four Loko beverages’ labels are to be altered to state that its super-size cans contain as much alcohol as four to five cans of beer, federal regulators announced.

Chicago-based Phusion Projects agreed to relabel its Four Loko beverages, following added pressure by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), reports Associated Press (AP).

The FTC has challenged the company about its advertising practices in the past.

Phusion did not admit any wrongdoing but agreed to re-label its malt drinks to better inform consumers.

Federal regulators have been pressuring the company and others that sell similar fruity-tasting, high-alcohol malt beverages for the last few years.

Their actions followed claims that the drinks were linked to the deaths of teenagers in several states in recent times, AP reports.

In November, the FTC and the Food and Drug Administration issued warnings to Phusion and three other alcoholic malt beverage makers.

The FTC warned that the caffeine and other stimulants added to their drinks were dangerous because “caffeine can mask the sense of intoxication.”

Not long afterwards, all four companies removed the stimulants from the offending beverages, reports AP.

Now, the FTC alleges that Phusion misrepresented the amount of alcohol in those cans as being equal to one to two regular cans of 12oz beers -- instead of four to five cans.

Phusion also has marketed these cans as a single serving, safe to drink all at once, while the FTC considers consuming an entire can on a single occasion equivalent to “binge drinking.”

The cans are not resealable, which encourages immediate consumption, the FTC says, reports AP.

One of Phusion’s co-founders, Jaisen Freeman, said in a statement, “Even though we reached an agreement, we don’t share the FTC’s perspective, and we disagree with their allegations." 

“We don’t believe there were any violations. However, we take legal compliance very seriously,” Freeman said.

The company has agreed to disclose on its containers how the alcohol content of its beverages compares with the alcohol content of a 12oz can of beer, AP reports.

 From the October 4, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.