PepsiCo Inc. is removing a controversial ingredient from its Gatorade sports drink in response to customer complaints.
A spokeswoman for the company said Friday the removal of brominated vegetable oil was in the works for the past year after the company began "hearing rumblings" from consumers about the ingredient.
The ingredient also is used in other drinks, including some flavors of Powerade made by rival Coca-Cola Co.
A petition on Change.org noted brominated vegetable oil has been patented as a flame retardant and is banned in Japan and the European Union. It had more than 200,000 supporters Friday.
For Gatorade, Carter said the ingredient is used as an "emulsifier," meaning it distributes flavoring evenly so it doesn't collect at the surface. She said it was used only in select varieties including orange and "citrus cooler." Other drinks that use brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, include Coca-Cola's Fanta and PepsiCo's Mountain Dew. A spokesman for competitor Dr Pepper Snapple Group was not available to comment on whether the ingredient is used in any of its drinks.