The ingredients on a bottle of Mountain Dew are photographed in San Francisco, Monday, May 5, 2014. Coca-Cola said on Monday it will drop brominated vegetable oil from all its drinks that contain it, not just Powerade. The Atlanta-based company says the controversial ingredient is still being used in some flavors of Fanta and Fresca, as well as several citrus-flavored fountain drinks. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Updated: June 8, 2014 6:21AM
NEW YORK — Coca-Cola and PepsiCo said Monday they’re working to remove a controversial ingredient from all their drinks, including Mountain Dew, Fanta and Powerade.
The ingredient, called brominated vegetable oil, had been the target of petitions on Change.org by a Mississippi teenager who wanted it out of PepsiCo’s Gatorade and Coca-Cola’s Powerade. In her petitions, Sarah Kavanagh noted the ingredient has been patented as a flame retardant and isn’t approved for use in Japan and the European Union.
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have stood by the safety of the ingredient, which is used to distribute flavors more evenly in fruit-flavored drinks. But their decisions reflect the pressure companies are facing as people pay closer attention to ingredient labels.
PepsiCo had said last year that it would remove brominated vegetable oil from Gatorade. On Monday, the company said it has since been working to remove it from the rest of its products. The company didn’t provide a timeline for when it expects the removal to be complete.
Earlier on Monday, Coca-Cola also said it is removing the ingredient from all of its drinks to be consistent in the ingredients it uses around the world. In addition to Powerade, Coca-Cola uses BVO in some flavors of Fanta, Fresca and several citrus-flavored fountain drinks.