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

in Entertainment, Viral Videos

WATCH: ‘Star Wars’ awakens force with teaser trailer

17-overlay2

"There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?"

in Music

This week’s top country tracks

frankieballard

LISTEN: This week's top country tracks, according to the latest Billboard chart.

in Black Friday, Entertainment

‘Frozen’ tops Barbie as top girls’ holiday pick

frozen

The results marked the first time in 11 years that Barbie hasn't held the No. 1 spot in the annual toy survey.

in Black Friday, Viral Videos

Black Friday facts that will make you think twice

22-overlay2

Before you wait in line for doorbuster deals, check out these Black Friday facts.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: ‘Friends of the Galaxy’ mashup

24-overlay2

If "Guardians of the Galaxy" was set to the "Friends" theme.