New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer wants to be the buzzkill and prevent powdered alcohol from hitting store shelves, warning it could become “the Kool-Aid of teenage binge drinking."
The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, after some confusion, last month decided not to give final approval for “Palcohol,” a product that would be a pocket-sized powder packet coming in several varieties including rum and vodka.
But Schumer wants to make sure the bigger, more powerful Food and Drug Administration permanently keeps the product off the market.
“It’s absurd. It’s scary,” Schumer told WCBS Radio and other news outlets on Sunday in New York. "I'm calling on the Food and Drug Administration to immediately step in, investigate Palcohol based on its obvious health risks and prohibit this ludicrous product from going to market.”
Though the senator’s efforts might seem like overkill, Palcohol parent company Lipsmark suggests the bureau's response is just a setback.
The bureau last month initially approved the powdered alcohol, but then said the approval was sent in error and reversed course. It ultimately rejected seven Palcohol product labels. That would have been the final step after OK’ing the related formulas and the product’s distillery process.
Lipsmark has said it plans to resubmit the labels for approval.
Schumer fears the product could be easily concealed, surreptitiously sprinkled on food or snorted, despite the company warning that putting Palcohol up one’s nose would be painful.
“What’s to stop a bad individual from sprinkling powdered alcohol into someone’s lunch or dinner when they’re not looking?” Schumer reportedly asked Sunday. “This can be really dangerous.”
The company also says on its website: “It is unfortunate that Sen. Schumer allowed himself to get caught up in the hysteria about powdered alcohol by making uninformed statements. ... Palcohol has many positive uses and shouldn’t be banned. Rather it should be approved, taxed and regulated just like liquid alcohol."