Coca-Cola has decided that it would remove a chemical named “Brominated Vegetable Oil” (BVO), which is associated with fire retardants, from its drinks by this year.
Beverage makers use BVO to stabilize the ingredients especially in flavored drinks so that they do not separate.The chemical contains bromine, often utilized as a flame retardant in upholstered furniture, plastics, as well as in some children clothing. Moreover, the chemical is also not authorized for use in food products in Japan and European Union.
However, this chemical is used by Coca-Cola (a Fortune 500) in Fresca, Fanta and in some citrus flavored fountain drinks.
This move to drop BVO from all the drinks was first initiated in 2012 with a Change.org petition commenced by Sarah Kavanagh, a Mississippi teenager.
She also appealed Pepsico (also a Fortune 500) to drop this chemical from Gatorade, her favorite drink. The company had to relent as the petition gathered momentum and was signed by over 200,000 supporters.
Kavanagh mentioned Powerade in her petition and it received around 59,000 signatures. According to a spokesman, Coca-Cola removed BVO from its strawberry lemonade flavored drinks and Powerade fruit punch in “the last month or two”.
Furthermore, the Mayo Clinic’s website says that BVO is associated with memory loss as well as skin and nerve problems if consumed in bulk.
The soft drink giant informed that it will shift to ingredients that are present in other beverages and chewing gum.
Coke guaranteed the safety of its drinks saying, “All of our beverages, including those with BVO, are safe and always have been — and comply with all regulations in the countries where they are sold. The safety and quality of our products is our highest priority.”