New York – PepsiCo will remove a controversial ingredient from the Gatorade recipe in response to multiple consumer complaints.
PepsiCo announced that it will be removing brominated vegetable oil, an emulsifier, from citrus-flavored Gatorade, reports The Chicago Tribune. A spokeswoman for the company said Friday that the removal of the controversial ingredient has been in the works for the past year after the company started receiving complaints about the ingredient.
The decision to remove the ingredient wasn’t a response to a recent petition on Change.org by a Mississippi teenager.
Sarah Kavanagh had launched the online petition in November, which went on to get a bunch of media attention. It said that the emulsifier shared the chemical bromine with some flame retardants, and got over 200,000 signatures. She was ecstatic when she heard the news:
“When I went to Change.org to start my petition, I thought it might get a lot of support because no one wants to gulp down flame retardant, especially from a drink they associate with being healthy,” she said. “But with Gatorade being as big as they are, sometimes it was hard to know if we’d ever win. This is so, so awesome.”
However, MSN reports that the ingredient is not banned by the US Food and Drug Administration, and that PepsiCo’s decision had nothing to do with health or safety concerns. It was specifically a response to concerns expressed by Gatorade customers, and nothing more. Kavanagh gets props for doing something about what she saw as a problem, but the problem doesn’t seem to be anything more than “bromine is yucky” in her opinion and that of at least 200,000 others.
The ingredient is also used in other drinks, including some flavors of Powerade made by Coca-Cola Co.
As an emulsifier, brominated vegetable oil is meant to distribute a drink’s flavor evenly throughout a single serving so that the flavors don’t all float to the top, leaving you with watery Gatorade past the first few sips.
This reminds me of an old Penn & Teller gag: