PepsiCo is making some big changes to its Gatorade sports drink, thanks to a high school sophomore’s Internet petition, said Candice Choi in the Associated Press. Sarah Kavanagh, 16, a vegetarian from Hattiesburg, Miss., was scanning Gatorade’s ingredient list for animal products one day when she came across an item she didn’t recognize: brominated vegetable oil. A Google search led her to articles about BVO, which she discovered was patented as a flame retardant, linked to reduced fertility and altered thyroid hormones, and banned as a food additive in Japan and the European Union.
“When I went to Change.org to start my petition, I thought it might get a lot of support because no one wants to gulp down flame retardant,” Kavanagh said. “But with Gatorade being as big as they are, sometimes it was hard to know if we’d ever win.” Kavanagh’s petition attracted more than 200,000 signatures, and last week the soda giant announced it would replace BVO in Gatorade, said Stephanie Strom in The New York Times, though it remains present in Mountain Dew and other citrus-flavored drinks. “I’m thinking about taking it to the FDA,” Kavanagh said, “and asking them why they aren’t doing something about it.”