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MURRIETA, Calif. -- Redux Beverages, the makers of Cocaine Energy Supplement, announced they are creating a new look for the controversial beverage. The company had been planning to update the look and feel of its flagship product sometime before 2009, but said a recent letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prompted the company to introduce these changes by the end of this month instead.
The majority of the objections raised in the FDA letter concerned the chalky looking fonts used on the packaging to spell out the name of the product and some of its ingredients, Redux said. The agency wrote it "appear[s] to be cocaine powder ... that has been 'cut' by an object (presumably a credit card or razor blade) to form letters."
The FDA letter also opined that the overall marketing and labeling of the product -- including the name of the product, the chalky fonts, and the use of the word "cut" -- violates FDA regulations because they demonstrate that Redux is trying to market its product as a replacement for an illicit street drug, the company stated, citing the FDA.
Jamey Kirby, founder of Redux Beverages, argued that "this is just a case of runaway regulators running roughshod over free speech and the free market. In the last year or so, the U.S. has experienced life-threatening problems with our domestic supply of tomatoes, spinach, peanut butter, imported seafood and even pet food. Worse, many experts predict that the next terrorist attack could focus on our food supply. So, why is the FDA wasting its precious resources complaining about what fonts Redux is using to advertise our product?" he asked in a statement.
Regardless, as part of the new branding campaign, Redux will replace the word "cut" with "mild" to signify the milder version of the product has less of a spicy kick. "Cut Cocaine" will soon be sold as "Cocaine Mild," and may be packaged in a different-colored can. In its letter, the FDA made it clear that such a change was important because the word "cut" constitutes "well-known terminology associated with and suggestive of illicit drug use," according to Redux.
Redux also will soon introduce cansthat the product is not intended to be an alternative to an illicit street drug, the company stated.
"Despite the fact that we find the FDA claims to be ridiculous, we have worked hard to address their concerns," Clegg Ivey, general counsel for Redux, said in a statement. "Last year, it was our slogan (we got rid of it) and this year, it's the fonts (we'll change them). The most expedient way to deal with their issues is to change the aspects of our marketing that enable them to mischaracterize our intentions -- except for the name, of course, which the First Amendment gives us the right to keep and which they will have to pry from our cold, dead hands."