Gatorade ingredient brominated vegetable oil to be removed by PepsiCo, Sarah Kavanagh online petition wins

By on Jan 26, 2013 in Food, Health, United States Comments

A Gatorade ingredient called brominated vegetable oil (BVO) will be removed, after an online petition that was launched last November by Sarah Kavanagh, 15, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, reached the attention of the company. The petition at, which called BVO a flame retardant chemical, has now 206,658 signatures.

Gatorade logo

Gatorade logo

According to The New York Times on Friday, January 25, 2013, PepsiCo announced that day that it will remove the controversial Gatorade ingredient, which is being used in the said sports drink to prevent the flavorings from separating. However, some studies said that it may have some side effects.

As noted in the report, Gatorade spokeswoman Molly Carter said that other alternatives for BVO are being tested for around a year, but noted that they initially did not find any risk on consumers’ health, despite studies saying that it could possibly cause neurological disorders and altered thyroid hormones.

Carter cited sucrose acetate isobutyrate (SAIB) will be replacement for the Gatorade ingredient in question; and customers will see the changes over the next few months, after the existing stocks will be sold out. SAIB is an emulsifier, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called it as a “generally recognized as safe” food additive.

“Thank you all for your support. When I went to 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.” Sarah Kavanagh wrote on her petition, as an update to announce the victory.

Gatorade being as big as they are, sometimes it was hard to know if we’d ever win. 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.” Kavanagh added.

On the other hand, Michael F. Jacobson, Executive Director of Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), was quoted at, applauding PepsiCo for deciding to remove the questionable Gatorade ingredient, noting that “Gatorade without BVO is nutritionally no better than with it.”

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