News

Coke to end use of controversial chemical

Coke to end use of controversial chemical

NEW RECIPE: Employees work at a Fanta production line at a Coca Cola plant. Photo: Reuters/Sean Yong

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Coca-Cola Company said on Monday it will remove a controversial flavoring stabilizer from some of its drinks, following rival PepsiCo Inc’s announcement earlier this year that it would drop the same ingredient from its drinks.

The ingredient, brominated vegetable oil (BVO), is a chemical containing bromine, which is found in fire retardants. Small quantities of BVO are used legally in some citrus-flavored drinks in the United States to keep the flavor evenly distributed.

Coca-Cola said the ingredient was dropped from two flavors of its Powerade drink – fruit punch and strawberry lemonade – earlier this year. The company expects to remove it from its Fanta and Fresca sods, and as well as citrus-flavored fountain drinks, by year’s end for U.S. consumers.

The company said it will also remove the ingredient in its products sold globally but did not provide a timeline.

Coke, which has said its use of BVO was safe for consumers, will use as a replacement sucrose acetate isobutyrate, which it has used for over a decade in some drinks, or glycerol ester of rosin, a ingredient commonly found in chewing gums and drinks, the company said.

The use of the chemical in sports drinks has drawn concern from consumers as well as from a Mississippi teenager, Sarah Kavanagh, who circulated two online petitions to put pressure on Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to remove the ingredient from their drinks.

Kavanagh’s PepsiCo petition received more than 200,000 signatures and, after the company announced the change in late January, the teenager declared victory. The Coca Cola petition had been signed by some 60,000 people as of Monday.

“I knew that if Gatorade could do the right thing, so could Powerade,” Kavanagh said. “I’m glad to know the Powerade sold at my school and consumed by people around the world will be a little bit healthier without BVO in it.”

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a food safety watchdog group, BVO is a “poorly tested and possibly dangerous food additive and there’s no reason to use it in Gatorade or other drinks.”

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner, editing by Edith Honan and Cynthia Osterman)

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

M’s rookie Montgomery 1-hits Padres for 2nd straight shutout

Fresh
mariners

Rookie left-hander Mike Montgomery took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and finished with a one-hitter for his second straight shutout as the Seattle Mariners beat the San Diego Padres 5-0 Tuesday night.

in Local Sports

Bird, rookies lead Seattle Storm past Shock 74-69

Fresh
seattle storm logo

Sue Bird scored 17 points and rookies Jewell Loyd and Ramu Tokashiki combined for 25, including seven in the last three minutes as the Seattle Storm ended a five-game losing streak with a 74-69 win over the Tulsa Shock on Tuesday night.

in Local

Family of immigrant killed by police gets documents

Fresh
police lights

Authorities released the files to relatives of Antonio Zambrano-Montes on Tuesday, a day before they were to be released to the public.

in Local

Semi from Anker Trucking in Sumas catches fire at truck stop

Fresh
red fire truck back

A semi-truck full of hundreds of gallons of fuel caught fire at a Marysville gas station Tuesday afternoon.

in Local

Girl Scouts refuse $100,000 anti-transgender donation

Fresh
money hand

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington says it has returned a $100,000 donation because it came with the provision that the money couldn't be used to support transgender girls.