Two flavors of Powerade that contain brominated vegetable oil or BVO will be updated to be BVO-free, according to Coca-Cola, which makes the popular sports drink. The Powerade website still lists BVO as an ingredient for two flavors — fruit punch and strawberry lemonade — and consumers will still find bottles on store shelves with brominated vegetable oil on the label because those bottles were produced before the announcement was made.
The news follows the announcement more than a year ago that the makers of Gatorade would remove brominated vegetable oil from their product. BVO is a controversial food ingredient because it’s also used as a flame retardant and banned in more than 100 countries. When Pepsi took BVO out of its sports drink formula, I mentioned that I wouldn’t be surprised if other companies did the same and now it has happened.
Is this another sign that companies are listening to consumers who are concerned about the ingredients in food? I think so.
Teenager Sarah Kavanagh has a petition on Change.org with more than 59,000 signatures that asks Powerade to take the controversial ingredient out of its sports drinks. Change.org now says the petition is a “confirmed victory.” Kavanagh was also behind a similar petition that asked the same of the makers of Gatorade, but the makers of that sports drink said the change had been in the works and the more than 200,000 names on Kavanagh’s petition had nothing to do with it.
I didn’t believe that then, and I don’t believe that now. Consumers are pushing change. Earlier this year Subway removed azodicarbonamide from its bread, a chemical also found in yoga mats. Just last month, consumers in Vermont scored a big victory when their legislators listened to them and the state became for the first to require GMO labeling.
Taking out one questionable ingredient in a sports drink doesn’t suddenly make it a health drink, but I always believe in pointing out when a company makes a move in a positive direction – especially when a company does it voluntarily because of consumer demand instead of being forced by government regulation to make the change.
When a company listens to our demands and makes changes, we need to acknowledge those changes and say, “Thank you for taking this step. We appreciate it. Now, how else can we work together?”
Related on MNN:
- List of banned ingredients in other countries deserves a look
- Coca-Cola debuts bottles made of ice
- Kraft ditches artificial preservatives in some Singles varieties