Beverage Additive’s Safety Debated
PepsiCo’s announcement of plans to remove brominated vegetable oil (BVO) from Gatorade has cast a spotlight on the controversial beverage additive, which the FDA has listed as "permitted on an interim basis pending further study" for more than four decades. Food watchdog groups have called BVO "poorly tested and possibly dangerous.” Despite the Gatorade move, in which BVO will be replaced by sucrose acetate isobutyrate because of what PepsiCo called consumers’ "negative perceptions," the company will continue to use BVO in products including Amp and Mountain Dew. Coca-Cola, which uses BVO in Powerade and Fanta Orange, also says it is confident about the ingredient’s safety. An FDA spokesperson said the agency has not revisited BVO’s interim status because it considers the additive safe "based on several long-term animal studies" and other priorities are more urgent for maximizing public health. BVO is a stabilizer/emulsifier that keeps citrus flavors in suspension in beverages.