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 Change.org, 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.