News

Coke to end use of controversial chemical

Coke to end use of controversial chemical

NEW RECIPE: Employees work at a Fanta production line at a Coca Cola plant. Photo: Reuters/Sean Yong

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Coca-Cola Company said on Monday it will remove a controversial flavoring stabilizer from some of its drinks, following rival PepsiCo Inc’s announcement earlier this year that it would drop the same ingredient from its drinks.

The ingredient, brominated vegetable oil (BVO), is a chemical containing bromine, which is found in fire retardants. Small quantities of BVO are used legally in some citrus-flavored drinks in the United States to keep the flavor evenly distributed.

Coca-Cola said the ingredient was dropped from two flavors of its Powerade drink – fruit punch and strawberry lemonade – earlier this year. The company expects to remove it from its Fanta and Fresca sods, and as well as citrus-flavored fountain drinks, by year’s end for U.S. consumers.

The company said it will also remove the ingredient in its products sold globally but did not provide a timeline.

Coke, which has said its use of BVO was safe for consumers, will use as a replacement sucrose acetate isobutyrate, which it has used for over a decade in some drinks, or glycerol ester of rosin, a ingredient commonly found in chewing gums and drinks, the company said.

The use of the chemical in sports drinks has drawn concern from consumers as well as from a Mississippi teenager, Sarah Kavanagh, who circulated two online petitions to put pressure on Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to remove the ingredient from their drinks.

Kavanagh’s PepsiCo petition received more than 200,000 signatures and, after the company announced the change in late January, the teenager declared victory. The Coca Cola petition had been signed by some 60,000 people as of Monday.

“I knew that if Gatorade could do the right thing, so could Powerade,” Kavanagh said. “I’m glad to know the Powerade sold at my school and consumed by people around the world will be a little bit healthier without BVO in it.”

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a food safety watchdog group, BVO is a “poorly tested and possibly dangerous food additive and there’s no reason to use it in Gatorade or other drinks.”

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner, editing by Edith Honan and Cynthia Osterman)

Recent Headlines

19 hours ago in Entertainment

Bill Murray tosses fans’ phones off rooftop

billmurray

The "Ghostbusters" star was unwinding at rooftop restaurant in California on Thursday when he spotted two starstruck fans trying to snap his photo.

20 hours ago in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: ‘Deadpool,’ ‘Zoolander 2’ to battle at the box office

15-overlay-6

Here's a look at some of the films set to open this weekend.

20 hours ago in Entertainment, National

Roses and roaches: Cold-hearted Valentine’s Day ideas

valentines

With the coldest air in more than a decade forecast to grip the United States this Valentine's Day weekend, the holiday dedicated to love is flashing its frigid side.

21 hours ago in Music, Entertainment

Woodstock 50th anniversary celebration in the works

woodstock

Organizers of the original Woodstock festival are trying to get something together to mark the golden anniversary of the event in 2019.

1 day ago in Entertainment

Cosby’s wife must give deposition in civil suit, judge rules

cosby

Bill Cosby's wife will have to talk to lawyers bringing a defamation lawsuit against the comedian but cannot be compelled to reveal private conversations with her husband, a federal judge has ruled.