The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

March 14, 2013

Brominated vegetable oil in Gatorade?



SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — When PepsiCo Inc. announced it would stop putting an obscure vegetable oil in its Gatorade right before the Super Bowl, one of the loudest cheers came from a high school student who had made it her mission to get rid of the ingredient.

"I was like, 'Whoa,'" said Sarah Kavanagh, a 16-year-old from Hattiesburg, Miss., who wanted to know how an oil that contains a chemical also found in flame retardants got into her favorite sports drink. After she posted a petition on Change.org asking Pepsi to remove it, more than 200,000 people signed.

"I just wanted to make sure it was something that I could drink," said the teen.

From oil in Gatorade to the amount of caffeine and other stimulants in energy drinks and the so-called "pink slime" found in beef, previously unnoticed ingredients are coming under scrutiny as health-conscious consumers demand more information about what they eat and drink, and sometimes go public via social networking and the Internet.

So how does some of this stuff get into our food?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviews and approves most additives to food or drinks before they hit the marketplace. But others can bypass that process if they are deemed "generally recognized as safe" by the government or food companies and the experts they hire.

Take the story of Gatorade.

Developed in 1965 at the University of Florida to help football players keep hydrated in the heat, Gatorade was an immediate hit. By 1969, a private company acquired rights to market the drink and started adding brominated vegetable oil to distribute flavor evenly in a new orange version.

In those days, the oil was included in a list of additives, preservatives and chemicals that the government calls "generally recognized as safe." The "GRAS" designation took root more than a half-century ago as a way to help the processed food industry avoid lengthy reviews for ingredients that were considered, by qualified experts, to be safe under conditions of intended use.

Text Only
Lifestyle
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee