The world’s largest beverage-maker, Coca-Cola, plans to remove a controversial ingredient from some of its US drinks brands by the end of this year, following an online petition.
Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, is found in Coca-Cola fruit and sports drinks such as Fanta and Powerade.
Rival Pepsi removed the chemical from its Gatorade sports drink last year.
In Japan and the European Union, the use of BVO as a food additive is not allowed.
Pepsi has a plan to remove the ingredient from its entire product portfolio.
It uses BVO in its Mountain Dew and Amp Energy drinks sold in the US.
BVO has been used as a stabiliser in fruit-flavoured drinks as it helps to prevent ingredients from separating.
According to medical researchers at the Mayo Clinic, excessive consumption of soft drinks containing BVO has been linked to negative health effects, including reports of memory loss and skin and nerve problems.
BVO was dropped from the US Food and Drug Administration’s “Generally Recognised as Safe” list of food ingredients in 1970.
However, drinks companies in the US are allowed to use BVO at up to 15 parts per million.
Coca-Cola spokesman Josh Gold stressed the move to remove BVO was not an issue of safety.
“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,” he said in a statement.