Coca-cola removes controversial ingredient from Powerade - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Coca-cola removes controversial ingredient from Powerade

Posted: Updated:
(AP)- Coca-Cola is dropping a controversial ingredient from its Powerade sports
drink, after a similar move by PepsiCo's Gatorade last year.

The ingredient, brominated vegetable oil, had been the target of a petition
by a Mississippi teenager, who questioned why it was being used in a drink
marketed toward health-conscious athletes. The petition on Change.org noted
that the ingredient is linked to a flame retardant and is not approved for
use in Japan or the European Union.

In response to customer feedback, PepsiCo said last year it would drop the
ingredient from Gatorade. At the time, Coca-Cola declined to say whether it
would remove the ingredient from the two flavors of Powerade that contain it
 as well.

But this week, bottles of Powerade in fruit punch and strawberry lemonade
flavors being sold in the Detroit, Michigan; Omaha, Nebraska, New York and
Washington, D.C. areas no longer list the ingredient. Some bottles still
list it, however, suggesting Coca-Cola Co. may have started phasing it out
recently.

A representative for the Atlanta-based company confirmed Sunday that its
Powerade brands are "BVO-free." But no details were immediately available on
 when the change would be complete or how the drinks were reformulated.

Powerade's website still lists brominated vegetable oil as an ingredient for
 its fruit punch and strawberry lemonade flavors.

The Food and Drug Administration says brominated vegetable oil is used as a
stabilizer for flavoring oils in fruit-flavored drinks. Coca-Cola has said
in the past that it uses it to "improve stability and prevent certain
ingredients from separating."

The decision by Coca-Cola to remove brominated vegetable oil from Powerade
is just the latest evidence that food makers are coming under pressure for
the ingredients they use. While companies stand by the safety of their
products, some are making changes in response to the movement toward foods
that people believe are natural.

Earlier this year, for instance, Subway said it would remove an ingredient
dubbed the "yoga mat chemical" from its breads. The ingredient,
azodicarbonamide, is approved for use by the FDA and can be found in a wide
variety of breads. The petitioner, Vani Hari of FoodBabe.com, said she
targeted Subway because of its image for serving healthy food.

Likewise, brominated vegetable oil can also be found in several other drinks.
But the Mississippi teenager, Sarah Kavanagh, said she targeted Gatorade and
 Powerade in petitions because they're designed for athletes, who are likely
 more concerned about what they're putting into their bodies. Her Powerade
petition had more than 59,000 online supporters while the Gatorade one had
more than 200,000.

As Americans cut back on soda, sports drinks have become more important for
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Inc., which is based in Purchase, New York.

Although Coca-Cola has long dominated rival PepsiCo on the soda front, it
lags the company in the growing sports drink category. According to the
industry tracker Beverage Digest, Gatorade has 64 percent of the sports
drink market.

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