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Powerade drops controversial ingredient

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:27 a.m. HST, May 04, 2014


NEW YORK >> 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.

"Consumers are coming together quickly and efficiently to influence the world's biggest beverage companies in an unprecedented manner," said Pulin Modi, senior campaign manager for Change.org.

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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1local wrote:
great - now eliminate high fructose corn syrup, and all artificial sweetners...
on May 4,2014 | 10:48AM
droid wrote:
Exactly! The real health “negative” in sports drinks is still a main ingredient.
on May 5,2014 | 02:51AM
gobows wrote:
even bottled water can be suspect
on May 4,2014 | 11:09AM
Skyler wrote:
I had a 1 ltr. bottle of Menehune water the other day and I swear it tasted like it had rubbing alcohol in it.
on May 4,2014 | 12:07PM
HanabataDays wrote:
Well, you know how hard the menehune work. Their sore muscles need a good rubdown at the end of a long night. And hey, mistakes happen.
on May 4,2014 | 01:53PM
Skyler wrote:
I'll never drink it again... thanks. :-p
on May 4,2014 | 07:50PM
Skyler wrote:
Good for her - good for us. It blew my mind when I read what's in the foods I normally ate - especially after I found out what they really are. I started reading labels when I was a kid, liking the challenge of pronouncing the long words. Now, I like reading the labels to see what I'm not buying anymore.
on May 4,2014 | 12:06PM
AmbienDaze wrote:
try read the ingredients in a bottle of johnny black, or glenlevit.
on May 4,2014 | 05:48PM
Ronin006 wrote:
After eating some Campbell's tomato soup, I read the label and found that it contained potassium chloride and monopotassium phosphate among other things. OMG, I think I am going to die. What should I do?
on May 4,2014 | 07:26PM
Skyler wrote:
Die, I guess. Sounds like you bought the low-sodium version - basically liquid fertilizer & fungicide with tomatoes. Yum...
on May 4,2014 | 07:58PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Thanks for the encouragement.
on May 5,2014 | 08:38AM
what wrote:
Brominated Vegetable Oil is linked to a flame retardant? Oh no, water is a flame retardant. Time to panic!
on May 4,2014 | 01:12PM
what wrote:
BMO has been linked to a flame retrdant. Water is a flame retrdant, should we panic?
on May 4,2014 | 01:14PM
HanabataDays wrote:
Water is both necessary to life and an excellent flame retardant. However, I wouldn't recommend drinking your water from a fire hose at 1000 gallons per minute -- although the result would be youtube-worthy. But it appears that what the world really needs is an effective retardretardant.
on May 4,2014 | 01:56PM
Ronin006 wrote:
About a year ago, about 600 supposedly well-educated and informed people in California signed a petition to ban the use of dihydrogen monoxide before someone realized they were petitioning to ban WATER. Brominated vegetable oil is no more harmful to your health than dihydrogen monoxide. What nincompoops.
on May 4,2014 | 07:17PM
Ronin006 wrote:
About a year ago, about 600 supposedly well-educated and informed people in California signed a petition to ban the use of dihydrogen monoxide before someone realized they were petitioning to ban WATER. Brominated vegetable oil is no more harmful to your health than dihydrogen monoxide.
on May 4,2014 | 07:19PM
onoahu wrote:
For whatever reason, people tend to believe whatever they read on the Internet. High Fructose corn syrup - no more harmful than sugar in ANY peer reviewed studies, yet people get up in arms because of what they read on the Internet. Haven't read about brominated vegetable oil, but I'd wager it's a similar story.
on May 5,2014 | 07:59AM
kekelaward wrote:
Maroons!!! I need that in my Poweraide. No I'll be so hot, I'll never lose! And you know how humble I am.....
on May 4,2014 | 01:36PM
Hawaiiobserver wrote:
How about "SWEETMYX", an artificial flavor enhancer that is totally addictive. According to Dr. Oz, It's a chemical that responds to the taste buds on the tongue, in such a way, that is purposely developed to maximize the sweet buds, and it's engineered to make the drinks/food more addictive. Pepsi recently bought the rights to use this in their soft drinks, but will soon show up in junk food. The scary thing is that it's listed as "artificial flavors"-approved by the FDA, of course. Check it out.. http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/addictive-new-ingredient-hiding-your-food Thank goodness for organizations that care and protect the rest of us from gross, unhealthy things that food companies get away with.
on May 4,2014 | 05:24PM
krusha wrote:
With all the sugar they put in these drinks, better off just sticking with plain old water instead. Take an energy pill if you need a pickup.
on May 5,2014 | 06:56AM
ryan02 wrote:
"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" -- what a joke. Anybody who is stupid enough to pay for Gatorade or Powerade when they could be drinking healthier water for free, is too stupid to know/care what ingredients are put into Powerade/Gatorade in the first place.
on May 5,2014 | 07:09AM
twk123 wrote:
Good! my family reads labels for years..some ingredients are hard to pronounce and harder to know what they are. We need to know what we are consuming! Mahalo for the transparency and agree totally with Local1 = get rid of the rest of da junk.
on May 10,2014 | 09:15AM
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