NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola and PepsiCo said Monday they’re working to remove a controversial ingredient from all their drinks, including Mountain Dew, Fanta and Powerade.
The ingredient, called brominated vegetable oil, had been the target of petitions on Change.org by a Mississippi teenager who wanted it out of PepsiCo’s Gatorade and Coca-Cola’s Powerade. In her petitions, Sarah Kavanagh noted that the ingredient has been patented as a flame retardant and isn’t approved for use in Japan and the European Union.
In the European Union, BVO is banned from use as a food additive. In the EU, beverage companies commonly use glycerol ester of wood rosin or locust bean gum as an alternative to BVO.
Standards for soft drinks in India have prohibited the use of BVO since 1990 and the use of BVO as a food additive has been banned in Japan since 2010.
While food companies stress that the ingredients meet regulatory requirements, their decisions reflect how marketing a product as “natural” has become priority and a competitive advantage.