NEW YORK (AP) -- PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) is removing a controversial ingredient from its Gatorade sports drink following customer complaints.

A spokeswoman for the company, Molly Carter, says the move was in the works for the past year after the company began "hearing rumblings" from consumers about the ingredient. She said it wasn't a response to a recent petition on by a Mississippi teenager.

That petition noted that the ingredient, brominated vegetable oil, has been patented as a flame retardant and is banned in Japan and the European Union. The petition had more than 200,000 supporters Friday.

Carter said the ingredient is still used in other PepsiCo drinks, such as Mountain Dew. PepsiCo's decision to remove the ingredient from Gatorade was first reported by the industry tracker Beverage Digest.

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