A Change.org petition started by a high school student urges PepsiCo Americas Beverages and Gatorade Canada to remove brominated vegetable oil (BVO) from their products, citing a December 12, 2012, Scientific American article allegedly linking the stabilizer to “impaired neurological development, reduced fertility, early onset of puberty and altered thyroid hormones.” Garnering more than 180,000 signatures, the petition argues that BVO is banned in both the European Union and Japan, where Gatorade sports beverages do not contain the ingredient. “You put slick ads on TV encouraging people like me to buy your products, but it’s shocking that you have a flame retardant chemical called ‘brominated vegetable oil’ in some flavors,” opines the petitioner. “Please stop deceiving consumers and remove this chemical from your products.”

In a related development, the U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a
call for research on the occurrence of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in
food and feed. Defined by FSA as ubiquitous chemical compounds that are
continually being replaced with newer formulations, BFRs “are everywhere in
the environment and have entered the food chain,” according to the agency.
FSA has requested information about bromine compounds to determine
(i) whether an assessment of overall BFR loading in foods is feasible and
(ii) whether FSA should further investigate “novel and emerging BFRs” or
continue to primarily monitor polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and
hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) as directed by European Food Safety
Authority recommendations.

“This is a challenging project in terms of analytical complexity,” states FSA in its call for research. “[I]n a typical approach, approximately 400 samples of randomly-selected food and feed samples, mainly products of animal origin and those with high fat content although compound feeds and processed foods of other types may be included, would be screened for overall bromine content.” The agency has asked applicants “with experience of analyzing BFRs in food with a high level of precision” to submit their responses by January 10, 2013.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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