PepsiCo Removes Potentially Toxic Additive BVO From Gatorade
A spokesperson for Gatorade announced that PepsiCo Inc., the manufacturer of Gatorade Sports Drink will remove a potentially toxic ingredient used in Gatorade, because of adverse consumer complaints.
The ingredient, brominated vegetable oil (BVO), is used as a stabilizer in Gatorade and other citrus flavored soft drinks readily available on the market today.
BVO is used as a stabilizer and emulsifier in Gatorade and other citrus flavored soft drinks, which allows the citrus flavored oils in the drink to stay suspended, rather than separating and having them all float to the surface.
Bromine, one of the ingredients in BVO, has been patented as flame retardant.
All this in response to a recent petition on change.org from a 15 year old Mississippi teenager named Sarah Kavanagh.
In a statement published on the change.org website, Sarah said, “Thank you all for your support. 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. But with Gatorade being as big as they are, sometimes it was hard to know if we’d ever win.” Adding “This is so, so awesome. Companies like Gatorade put so much thought into marketing. As someone who loves to drink their products, I’m so glad they’re making strides to put as much consideration into their customers health.”
Gatorade company spokeswoman Molly Carter indicated that the exclusion of BVO from the Gatorade sports drink had been in the works for almost a year now.
“While our products are safe, we are making this change because we know that some consumers have a negative perception of BVO in Gatorade, despite being permitted for use in North American and Latin American countries,” Carter read from a statement. “As part of this process, we began working on an alternative ingredient to BVO for the few Gatorade flavors that contain BVO more than a year ago.”
BVO is not ingredient in all varieties of Gatorade, only a select few including orange and citrus cooler.
PepsiCo’s decision to eliminate the ingredient from Gatorade was in response to concerns from Gatorade customers, and wasn’t the result of any health or safety concerns.
The new formulation that eliminates BVO, will use sucrose acetate isobutyrate instead of BVO to maintain the flavor and taste of the drinks.
Brominated vegetable oil is used in quite a few other soft drinks available on the open market today in the United States. It is used in PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew as well as Coca-Cola’s Powerade and Fanta drinks.
The Dr Pepper Snapple group also uses brominated vegetable oil in their drinks Sun Drop and Squirt.
Brominated vegetable oil, as described by PepsiCo Inc. on their website:
“Brominated vegetable oil, also known as BVO, is widely used by beverage makers to help keep flavoring oils well blended. Since oil does not mix well with water, emulsifiers [like BVO] help dissolve and keep the flavor oils evenly distributed throughout the beverage. BVO, or brominated vegetable oil, is used in very low levels in the production of select flavors of Gatorade (all ingredients are listed in descending order by weight).”
According to the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) food additive status list, brominated vegetable oil is described as an intermediate regulated stabilizer, to be used in quantities of < 15 ppm in fruit flavored beverages.
The FDA’s food additive status list also describes the additive Gatorade is replacing BVO with, sucrose acetate isobutyrate (SAIB) as a regulated stabilizer to be used as a stabilizer of emulsions of flavoring oils used in non-alcoholic beverages, not to exceed 300 mg/kilogram of the finished product.
The food additive brominated vegetable oil may be safely used in accordance with the following prescribed conditions:
(a) “The additive complies with specifications prescribed in the “Food Chemicals Codex,” 3d Ed. (1981), pp. 40-41, which is incorporated by reference, except that free fatty acids (as oleic) shall not exceed 2.5 percent and iodine value shall not exceed 16. Copies of the material incorporated by reference may be obtained from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20418, or may be examined at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).”
For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html
(b) “The additive is used on an interim basis as a stabilizer for flavoring oils used in fruit-flavored beverages, for which any applicable standards of identity do not preclude such use, in an amount not to exceed 15 parts per million in the finished beverage, pending the outcome of additional toxicological studies on which periodic reports at 6-month intervals are to be furnished and final results submitted to the Food and Drug Administration promptly after completion of the studies.”
[42 FR 14636, Mar. 15, 1977, as amended at 49 FR 5610, Feb. 14, 1984]
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