Coca-Cola to Remove Controversial Ingredient Linked to Memory Loss, Skin, Nerve Problems

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By Gopi Chandra Kharel | May 6, 2014 6:28 PM EST

Coca-Cola, the world's largest beverage-maker has plans to do away with a controversial ingredient from some of its drink brands that are linked to negative health effects such as memory loss and skin and nerve problems.

Reuters
Coca-cola plans to remove Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) ingredient linked to memory loss, skin and nerve problems. (Photo: Reuters)

The ingredient, Brominated Vegetable Oil, or BVO, is found in Coca-Cola fruit and sports drinks including Fanta and Powerade.

The move comes a year after Rival Pepsi removed the same chemical from its Gatorade sports drink.

"All of our beverages, including those with BVO, are safe and always have been - and comply with all regulations in the countries where they are sold," Coca-Cola Spokesman Josh Gold said in a statement, quoted by BBC.

"The safety and quality of our products is our highest priority."

The controversial ingredient has been used in drinks as a stabilizer which helps other ingredients in the drinks from separating. People have been concerned about its effects on health since it contains bromide, which is found in brominated flame retardants.

"Only a few studies have looked at possible safety issues, but it appears that bromine builds up in the body," a Mayo Clinic study notes.

"There also have been a few reports of people experiencing memory loss and skin and nerve problems after drinking excessive amounts (more than 2 liters a day) of soda containing BVO out of their products."

Experts have recommended not to drink large amounts of BVO-containing beverages and better to cut back on all sugar drinks.

Coca-Cola has said it would start using sucrose acetate isobutyrate or glycerol ester of rosin, which is commonly found in chewing gum. The company has said that two of the flavors of its Powerade sports drink - fruit punch and strawberry lemonade - has already removed BVO and started using glycerol ester or rosin instead.

Coca-Cola's moves to remove the ingredient comes after an online petition by Sarah Kavanagh from Hattiesburg, United States, to remove BVO from drinks that attracted more than 200,000 supporters.

(Ed:AJ)

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Coca-cola plans to remove Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) ingredient linked to memory loss, skin and nerve problems. (Photo: Reuters)
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