Molly Carter, a Gatorade spokeswoman, said in a statement: ''While our products are safe, we are making this change because we know that some consumers have a negative perception of BVO in Gatorade, despite being permitted for use in North American and Latin American countries, as part of this process, we began working on an alternative ingredient to BVO for the few Gatorade flavors that contain BVO more than a year ago," the Chicago Tribune reported.
The European Union and Japan do not allow the use of brominated vegetable oil in food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's last review of the chemical in the 1970s called for more toxicological testing, but the testing was never performed, the Tribune reported.
Sarah Kavanagh, a teenager in Mississippi, started her petition, which has gathered more than 200,000 signatures, on Change.org after she read the ingredients on her bottle of Orange Gatorade and looked up brominated vegetable oil and found it is also found in some flame retardants.
"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, especially from a drink they associate with being healthy," Kavanagh told the Tribune. "But with Gatorade being as big as they are, sometimes it was hard to know if we'd ever win. This is so, so awesome."
Carter said the Atlanta company needed a year to work on the formulation -- Gatorade will use sucrose acetate isobutyrateso, which it uses internationally, to replace brominated vegetable oil as an emulsifier -- so it "would not affect taste or functionality."
The newly formulated drinks are scheduled to be on store shelves in the next few months, Carter said.