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Coca-Cola Drops Suspect Ingredient From Powerade

Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
alex@ewg.org
For Immediate Release: 
Monday, May 5, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Environmental Working Group Executive Director Heather White said today that the Coca-Cola Company has made a responsible decision to stop using brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, as an ingredient in Powerade, its line of sports drinks.  

“Chemicals used in food and beverages should go through a rigorous review by public health officials first to ensure they pose no risks to human health,” White said. “Until the its maker can assure the public that BVO is safe, companies like Coca-Cola must listen to consumer concern and eliminate it from their formulations.”

Last year, under pressure from a consumer campaign launched by Sarah Kavanagh, at the time a 15 year old from Hattiesburg, Miss., PepsiCo announced plans to eliminate BVO from Gatorade.  

The risks of BVO to human health have not been definitively established, but some scientists have expressed concerns about it because BVO accumulates in human tissue.   Animal studies have raised questions about the possible effects of the chemical on developing children.

The federal Food and Drug Administration granted BVO "interim status" as a food additive in 1977, an action that allowed its use in soft drinks, but it is banned from European and Japanese soft drinks. It is patented in the U.S. and overseas as a flame retardant.

 “Informed consumers can pressure companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo directly and get results, “ White said.  “But the FDA should be doing much more to keep toxic chemicals out of foods and drinks in the first place.”