Global beverage giant Coca-Cola has announced it will be taking steps to remove brominated vegetable oil (BVO) from all of its drinks before the end of the year.
BVO is a controversial ingredient, as it is not only found in products such as Fanta and Powerade, but bromide is also present in flame retardants. This has led to concerns about the effect it could have on the health of consumers.
Research conducted at the Mayo Clinic in the US has linked the ingredient to complaints such as memory loss, skin irritation and problems with the nervous system.
The use of the substance as a food additive has been banned by the European Union and Japan and it is has not been listed on the US Food and Drug Administration's Generally Recognised as Safe list since 1970.
Despite this, BVO is still allowed to be used by drinks companies, as long as they do not exceed 15 parts to every million. It is seen as a useful component because it helps to prevent other ingredients from separating.
Coca-Cola has now said it will begin to use an alternative substance for this purpose instead, such as glycerol ester of rosin or sucrose acetate isobutyrate. The former is already being used in several flavours of its Powerade product.
However, Coca-Cola spokesman Josh Gold has stressed that the decision to cease using BVO has nothing to do with the safety of the company's drinks.
He said in a statement: "All of our beverages, including those with BVO, are safe and always have been and comply with all regulations in the countries where they are sold. The safety and quality of our products is our highest priority."
This move follows rival Pepsi's recent decision to remove the ingredient from its Gatorade sports beverages, after a Mississippi teenager raised concerns about its presence in her drink.
Pepsi does still use BVO in its Amp Energy and Mountain Dew drinks though, which are sold in the US.