Coca-Cola Getting Rid Of Brominated Vegetable Oil In Powerade

UPDATE: Coca-Cola and Pepsi have both announced they will be getting rid of BVO from all remaining drinks.

More than a year after PepsiCo decided to ditch controversial ingredient brominated vegetable oil from Gatorade (but decided to leave it in Mountain Dew), the folks at Coca-Cola have apparently followed suit with Powerade.

The AP reports that bottles of Powerade fruit punch and strawberry lemonade without BVO listed as an ingredient have begun showing up around the country. However, some other bottles of these flavors still list BVO on the label, indicating that this change occurred recently or that not all bottling operations have made the change.

A PR flack for Coca-Cola would only tell the AP that its Powerade drinks are “BVO-free,” though the Powerade website still lists BVO as an ingredient on these flavors.

BVO is not approved as a food additive in either the European Union or Japan but is allowed in the U.S. in low concentrations. It is generally used as an emulsifier in fruit-flavored soft drinks to keep them from separating.

The concern about BVO is the possibility of bromine building up in the bodies of those who drink beverages containing BVO.

“Bromine does bind to fat in the body and stay there, it is an endocrine disruptor, and the fact is many people drink excessive amounts of soda,” a professor University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine said following the Gatorade decision in 2013. “So the bromine ingestion is far higher than the ‘safe’ dose contained in one drink.”

In late 2012, a petition started by a Mississippi teenager pointed out that since Gatorade is sold in parts of the world where BVO is not allowed, a version of the drink exists that doesn’t use the ingredient… So why couldn’t it be made available stateside?

Shortly thereafter, PepsiCo began phasing out its use of BVO in Gatorade. However, the company still continues to use the ingredient in Mountain Dew and claimed that its Gatorade decision was not related to the petition and its 200,000 signatures.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.