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Coca Cola is Getting Rid of Brominated Vegetable Oil in All Drinks

Coca Cola is Getting Rid of Brominated Vegetable Oil in All Drinks

When Mississippi teenager Sarah Kavanagh discovered that her bottle of Gatorade had brominated vegetable oil in it, she decded to take a stand. BVO is a synthetic chemical that is created when vegetable oil is bonded to the element bromine, often found in citrus drinks because it helps the flavors evenly mix in the drink instead of separating. But when consumed in large amounts over a long period of time, it can build up in the body and cause toxic effects, like neurological damage. So Kavanagh started a petition to get BVO out of Gatorade.

Last year, PepsiCo announced that it is dropping the ingredient from Gatorade, and Coca Cola followed this year by announcing that it would drop it from Powerade. But that’s not all — Coca Cola has now announced that it is planning to remove the ingredient from all of its drinks. In the United States, BVO can still be found in some Fanta and Fresca flavors.

While banned in many countries, before Powerade and Gatorade were off the list, about 10 percent of drinks sold in the United States contained BVO. According to the AP, “Coca-Cola said in a statement that all its drinks are safe and comply with regulations in the countries where they’re sold.” However, despite complying with FDA regulations in the US — who approves the use of BVO — Coca Cola says it wants to phase the ingredient out to be more consistent with the ingredients it uses around the world.

But the decision to remove the ingredient could also be motivated by a realization that customers are demanding something different. “The trend toward natural foods has prompted some to steer clear of ingredients or chemicals that sound unfamiliar, even if they’re approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration and have been used by manufacturers for years,” wrote the AP.

“Coca-Cola has gone above and beyond our expectations,” Kavanagh told the AP. “It’s really good to know that companies, especially big companies, are listening to consumers.”

But let’s not allow this decision to cloud our critical thinking. If BVO is out, Coca Cola must be replacing it. What will our citrus drinks be getting instead?

Soon you can look forward to guzzling sucrose acetate isobutyrate in your Fanta. Sucrose acetate isobutyrate is said to be safe for consumption and has no effects associated with long term use. However, one study found that dogs that were fed the chemical showed enlarged livers and altered liver enzyme function.

While Coca Cola may get accolades for removing a toxic chemical, it’s replacing it with yet another synthetic chemical. In other words, you’re still drinking synthetic chemicals. So if you’re in the market for eating and drinking real food, best to stay away from the soda can and the sports drink bottle.

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Photo Credit: Manuel Garcia

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2:55AM PDT on Jun 27, 2015

thanks for sharing

12:44PM PDT on Sep 7, 2014

If you can't pronounce it, don't drink it.

12:49AM PDT on Aug 11, 2014

Noted. Thanks.

4:48AM PDT on Jun 10, 2014

thanks Coke... I only buy sodas from the health food store

8:57PM PDT on Jun 3, 2014

Interesting comment about "A Place To Grow," ScoTT S.

It is certainly something that I don't drink, there are so many chemicals in some of the soft drinks on the market.

8:52PM PDT on Jun 3, 2014

There was a movie a few years back called "A Place To Grow" about a guy who returns to his small farm town to sell his brother's farm after the brother died in an accident. He learns to appreciate the small town farmer mentality and decides not to sell the farm to the large agribusiness owner that wants it. A key scene is where he sees a cropduster plane and says, "We gotta get us one a those." "OH NO!" says the neighbor's 11 year old daughter. "Chemicals cause cancer. Better to work the land." And then she hands him (you guessed it) a can of coke, which he cracks open and downs. Nope, no chance of any mixed messages there. Good old fashioned small town farmers fight big bad evil business ... OOPS!

8:39PM PDT on Jun 3, 2014

Can't stand coke but it is good they are "trying" to improve but it does sound like the improvement may be worse than the original problem.

9:26AM PDT on Jun 3, 2014


11:21AM PDT on May 23, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

7:23AM PDT on May 23, 2014

Well I still won't drink that witch brew.

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