BVO has been used for decades as an emulsifier, intended to stabilize many fruit-flavored soft drinks. Because of concerns that ingestion of BVO might result in bromine build up in a person’s fatty tissue, it is banned as a food ingredient in Japan and in Europe. U.S. regulators have allowed its continued use but placed limits on its concentration.
The topic of BVO came to the fore back in late 2012, when a Mississippi teenager gathered more than 200,000 names on a change.org petition asking PepsiCo to drop BVO from its Gatorade drinks, especially since these same beverages were available without the ingredient in markets where BVO is banned.
A few months later, Pepsi announced it was making Gatorade BVO-free, but not in response to the petition. It also stated at the time that it had no plan on removing BVO from its other drinks, the most high-profile of which is Mountain Dew.
Then came yesterday’s news about Powerade, which Coca-Cola has quietly been transitioning away from BVO. Then the AP got Coke to confirm that its other BVO-containing beverages, including Fanta and Fresca, would stop using the ingredient by year’s end (Though cans and bottles containing BVO versions of these drinks might remain on shelves for quite some time, depending on a store’s inventory and sales).
The AP has also confirmed with Pepsi that Mountain Dew and Amp energy drinks will be going BVO-free, but couldn’t get the beverage biggie to give a timeline for the removal.