The US FDA just proposed a ban of BVO – brominated vegetable oil – a potentially toxic stabiliser used in soft drinks!
FDA To Ban BVO – A Stabiliser Used In Soft Drinks!
On Thursday, 2 November 2023, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally moved to revoke its authorisation for BVO – brominated vegetable oil – a stabiliser mostly used in soft drinks.
BVO is a vegetable oil that has been modified by bromine, a pungent and oily chemical, to create an emulsifier that keeps the citrus flavouring in fruit beverages from separating and floating to the top.
BVO has long been banned in Europe and Japan over health safety concerns, but was permitted to be used in the United States, at up to 15 parts per million.
While many beverage makers have already reformulated their drinks to replace BVO with other stabilisers, about 90 food products in the United States – mostly sodas, still use brominated vegetable oil. This was partly due to FDA’s past restrictions, and the ban on BVO in Europe and Japan:
The proposed ban is not yet a certainty. The FDA is opening up the proposed ban for public comments until January 17, 2024. That will be followed by a review process, before a final decision is made.
However, the publicity of this potential ban by the FDA will steer consumers away from soft drinks still containing BVO, and encourage brands to reformulate their products to replace brominated vegetable oil with an alternative stabiliser.
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Why The FDA Is Finally Planning To Ban BVO
The FDA decision came after California banned the BVO in October, with the passing of the California Food Safety Act. But officially – the FDA came to its conclusion based on studies that showed bioaccumulation of bromine, and its toxic effects on the thyroid:
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Those studies were conducted between 2016 and 2022. Initially, they started to more accurately measure the amount of BVO in commercial soft drinks. Then they studied the health effects of BVO in test rats, and the study results showed toxic effects on the thyroid:
The FDA concluded that after assessing existing animal and human data, together with the more recent FDA studies, it can no longer conclude that BVO is safe to use in food.
Needless to say – even if the FDA has not yet finalised the ban, we should all avoid any food products that contain BVO, even if they meet current regulations.
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