Teen's Petition Convinces Coke to Remove Flame Retardant From Products
Powerade lovers decided they were tired of sipping on flame retardant. Now, Coca-Cola is taking note.
Coca-Cola announced this week that it is working to remove brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, from all of its beverages. While Coke has stood by the safety of the ingredient, which distributes flavors more evenly in fruit-flavored drinks such as Powerade, the ingredient has been patented as a flame retardant and is not approved for use in the EU or Japan.
The ban comes on the heels of an online Change.org petitions started by Mississippian teenager Sarah Kavanagh. The petition, which focused on the removal of BVO from Powerade, garnered over 50,000 signatures.
"If they sell [Powerade] overseas without BVO, why risk my health and my friends’ health?" asked Kavanagh in the petition.
Kavanagh's campaign to force Coke to cut BVO from Powerade followed her successful effort to convince PepsiCo to cut the chemical from Gatorade. While Pepsi complied last year, BVO continues to be used as an ingredient in PepsiCo's Mountain Dew and Amp.
Stripping BVO from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products is just the most recent in a line of petition-induced industry changes. Earlier this year, health blogger Vani Hari's popular petitions helped convince Chick-fil-A to switch to antibiotics free chicken and Subway remove chemicals from its bread. As "sustainable" and "organic" become go-to buzzwords across the food industry, chains have to pay more attention to customers' growing appetite for food minus the chemicals.
Kate Taylor is a reporter at Business Insider. She was previously a reporter at Entrepreneur. Get in touch with tips and feedback on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor.