Robbed Again…


First it was Subway, taking the yoga mat ingredient out of it its bread; effectively ending my ability to buy a sandwich, do a couple of downward facing dog poses on it and then enjoy my lunch. Now Coke has vowed to remove an ingredient from its line of soft drinks and sports drinks that is once again stripping me of my everyday superhero abilities.

Thanks to thousands of petition signatures from Sarah Kavanagh, a teenager from Hattiesburg, Mississippi in a forum on, Coca-Cola has vowed to remove brominated vegetable oil (BVO) from all of it is products. So what is BVO? Well, Coke uses it as a stabilizer so that the ingredients don’t settle and separate. Other than that, it is used most commonly as a chemical fire retardant.

Well damn. How am I supposed to keep myself from being lit on fire now? I don’t care if my PowerAde looks like an elementary school experiment on the densities of oil and water, I want it to protect my organs from going up in flames. Not only do I like really spicy foods, but I also enjoy bourbon in my Coke. The likelihood of somehow being lit on fire is a direct correlation of the amount of bourbon consumed, so this used to be a very convenient situation. “used to be” being the key component of that statement. I learned the hard way that PepsiCo Inc., already removed the ingredient from their sports drink line last year, when I tried to use a bottle of lemon-lime Gatorade to fire-proof a pair of my boxers for a fire dancing routine. Let’s just say the residents at that particular retirement community got more than they bargained for when I ran screaming, half naked and in flames into a bed of hydrangeas to extinguish myself. (The flowers made a full recovery.)

So why the BVO hype? Well, the fact that it was removed from the FDA’s “Generally Recognized as Safe” ingredient list 44 years ago is a good place to start. I mean, the term “General Recognized as Safe” is pretty vague to begin with. A fully-grown adult male lion could be described as “Generally Recognized as Safe” under the right circumstances, as long as there are bars, rifles or a getaway vehicle involved. The difference with the lion is that it is a 600-pound light brown killing machine from which no potential prey can escape, not an additive in a heavily flavored bottle of liquid.

Sure, bromine poisoning causes a slew of mental issues, including disassociation, dementia, and memory loss. Sure, it’s been a questionable ingredient even before it was removed from the list of acceptable soft drink ingredients. I, for one, think the inability to spontaneously burst into flames is important too. I think maybe the soft drink manufacturers were actually looking out for us on this one.


Yeah, now that I think about it, probably not.

Justin Gammill

He is "stealthy like a ninja at midnight, yet brazen like a champion Mexican fighting chicken". Justin Gammill approaches his topics in a manner that provokes thought, laughter, and the occasional “did he just say that?”. Chances are, yes, he most certainly did just say that. So, buckle up … you never know where the train of thought is going.

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  1. They say “Ignorance is bliss.” The way this world is headed, dementia and memory loss may be a blessing in disguise. Bring on the Bromine!!! Just kidding (I think). Another informative article Mr. Justin Gammill. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Constance. The memory loos would be handy for the witnesses to my fire-dancing routine, but hindsight is 20/20

  2. you are afraid what to put into your body.that is why,i am a vegetarian.i only eat natural organic foods.

  3. I’m sure that Coke can find a different emulsifier for it’s beverages and maybe even reduce the cost of the product too. It’s good to know they have removed brominated vegetable oil that really sounds like something that doesn’t belong in any food product. It’s also good to know that Subway changed the ingredients in their breads recently as well. It’s all a good step in the right direction.

    1. Yes ma’am, corporate responsibility is starting to take a turn in the right direction in general, thanks to people that call these companies out on the junk they are putting in our products.

    1. I agree, on a really hot day, there is almost nothing better than an ice-cold coca-cola. I think the refreshment is from the fire-proofing.

  4. Justin, I just love your writing style. If I didn’t know you were dead serious, it would be funny. But I am so glad you are willing to take a stand and let “us” know all this stuff we might not find out otherwise. Thank you and God Bless you and your whole staff:) 🙂

  5. I would have paid cold hard cash to see that fire dancing routine. Any chance that’s on video somewhere? (Glad to hear the hydrangeas made a full recovery.)

    1. Actually Maili, the only footage of the incident was from the security cameras. I sold the rights to it to a company that makes videos for volunteer fire departments in small southern towns. Apparently flaming rednecks are quite common.

  6. So, Pepsi and Coke could be the cause of dementia? After 30 or 40 years of drinking soft drinks could rot your brain? Can only imagine the lawsuits on this one. It would make the lawsuit agains big tobacco look tiny, by comparison.

  7. Thank you for writing about these issues. I am a total fan of Earth911, and now of your writings. Very informative, and interesting to read.

    1. Thanks, Sally. Make sure to follow me on facebook, so you can get updates about my articles! there is a “follow me” link on my Bio.

  8. Now if we can just get Coca Cola to replace the high fructose corn syrup which they did not use in their original formulation…

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