Pow­dered Al­co­hol Ap­proved by Feds

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

Aprod­uct is ex­pected to hit shelves (in the United States) this sum­mer to turn wa­ter into wine—well, into vodka, rum and a few cock­tails —but not ev­ery­one is happy about it.

Pal­co­hol, or pow­dered al­co­hol, was ap­proved this week by the Al­co­hol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, part of the U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment. But the pow­der packets that can turn wa­ter into a mixed drink have al­ready been banned by sev­eral states amid fears that Pal­co­hol can be eas­ily abused.

“As a par­ent, it’s one thing to pa­trol for cases of beer or bot­tles of booze,” said ABC News chief health and med­i­cal edi­tor Dr. Richard Besser, who is also a pe­di­a­tri­cian. “But hav­ing to look for lit­tle packets, I worry that it could lead to more un­der­age drink­ing, mak­ing it eas­ier.”

He said he wasn’t happy with the fed­eral ap­proval and ex­plained there isn’t much the U.S. Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion can do about it right away. The FDA can only take prod­ucts like this off shelves if they find a prob­lem, he said, which is what hap­pened with al­co­holic en­ergy drinks called Four Loko. Though it’s not yet on the mar­ket, here are a few of the ques­tions the com­pany has al­ready an­swered.

How do you use it?

You stir a packet of Pal­co­hol into six ounces of liq­uid, ac­cord­ing to Lips­mark, the com­pany that owns Pal­co­hol. To dis­solve, it takes a minute of con­stant stir­ring so it wouldn’t be easy to spike some­one’s drink with­out them know­ing, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

What’s the point?

Lips­mark says Pal­co­hol was dreamed up for peo­ple who love the out­doors but don’t want to travel with heavy al­co­hol con­tain­ers—such as peo­ple who are go­ing camp­ing.

Does it come in fla­vors?

Yes. It comes in vodka, rum, cos­mopoli­tan, “Pow­derita” (a mar­garita fla­vor) and lemon drop. All but lemon drop were ap­proved this week.

How about the calo­rie con­tent?

It’s 80 calo­ries per bag, but some are sweet­ened, Lips­mark says. So a com­pleted drink’s calo­ries de­pend on the mix­ers added to it.

Is any­one against it?

Yes. Sev­eral states, in­clud­ing Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Ver­mont and Vir­ginia want to pro­hibit the sale of pow­dered al­co­hol.

Can you sneak it into sports and con­cert venues?

Crit­ics fear that peo­ple will sneak the packets into sport­ing venues, con­cert halls and schools. But Lips­mark says the 4-by-6 inch packet would be larger than a small bot­tle of liq­uid and there­fore harder to sneak in. But they ac­knowl­edge when there’s a will, there’s a way—but that’s the case with any al­co­hol, not just the pow­dered va­ri­ety.

Can you snort it?

Lips­mark says the po­ten­tial to snort Pal­co­hol has been one of the com­plaints it’s heard, but that Pal­co­hol would be hard to snort. Not only does it have the burn of al­co­hol, but it would take an hour to snort a “shot” of vodka, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s state­ment this week ad­dress­ing con­cerns about the prod­uct.

Con­cerns have been raised about pow­dered al­co­hol

which hits the mar­ket later this year.

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