PepsiCo Inc is removing a controversial chemical from its Gatorade drinks following concerns from consumers and an online petition by a Mississippi teenager.
Gatorade said the change was not a response to the petition, although the 15-year-old girl claimed victory.
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. It was present in Gatorade Orange and Lemonade and other smaller flavors.
Molly Carter, a spokeswoman for Gatorade, said BVO-free versions of those drinks will roll out across the United States in the next couple of months. She said the move to replace BVO has been in the works for some time, and was not a response to the petition by Sarah Kavanagh, the 15-year-old girl from Hattiesburg, Miss. Kavanagh started a petition on Change.org, an online petition platform, to ask PepsiCo to remove BVO from Gatorade. It received more than 200,000 signatures, and on Friday, the teenager declared victory.
"This is so, so awesome," she said.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a food safety watchdog group, BVO is a