Gatorade to remove controversial ingredient

Brominated vegetable oil listed as a flame retardant

Share with others:


Print Email Read Later

NEW YORK -- PepsiCo Inc. is removing a controversial ingredient from its Gatorade sports drink in response to customer complaints.

Company spokeswoman Molly Carter said Friday that the removal of brominated vegetable oil was in the works over the past year, after the company began "hearing rumblings" from consumers about the ingredient. She said it wasn't a reaction to a recent petition on Change.org by a Mississippi teenager.

The ingredient is also used in other drinks, including some flavors of Powerade made by rival Coca-Cola Co. The Atlanta-based company did not say whether it would remove the ingredient from Powerade as well but noted that it takes customer concerns into account when looking for ways to improve its drinks.

Ingredients in food and drinks have come under greater scrutiny in recent years, helped by the ability of consumers to mobilize online. The petition on Change.org noted that brominated vegetable oil has been patented as a flame retardant and is banned in Japan and the European Union. It had more than 200,000 supporters Friday.

For Gatorade, Ms. Carter said the ingredient is used as an "emulsifier," meaning it distributes flavoring evenly so it doesn't collect at the surface. She said it was used only in select varieties, including orange and "citrus cooler." Other drinks that use brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, include Coca-Cola's Fanta and PepsiCo's Mountain Dew.

A spokesman for competitor Dr Pepper Snapple Group said Sun Drop and Squirt are among its drinks that have BVO.

Ms. Carter noted that the ingredient is not banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and that PepsiCo's decision wasn't the result of any health or safety concerns.

science


Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here