FDA Announces New Ban On Controversial Additive

(WatchDogReport.org) – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially banned brominated vegetable oil (BVO). This frequently used additive is found in citrus-flavored soft drinks and several other products. The ban will take effect on August 2, 2024, and manufacturers will have one year to ensure compliance.

BVO is modified using bromine gas, which is toxic. The product was authorized for use by the FDA in the late 1960s. The move allowed small quantities of up to 15 parts per million to be used in citrus-flavored drinks to ensure an even distribution of flavoring. The additive has raised numerous health concerns despite its use in products for decades.

According to animal studies, BVO toxicity affects the thyroid gland. A 2022 study found that BVO interferes with the functionality of the thyroid gland, which can result in hypothyroidism, depression, and weight gain. High amounts of bromine in the system can also harm the central nervous system and cause nausea and headaches, as well as other health issues. Only one documented case exists of a person consuming soda and developing bromine toxicity; most cases result from exposure to bromine at work.

BVO was banned in the United Kingdom in 1970, India in 1990, and the European Union in 2008. Japan banned the product in 2010. The FDA recognized the toxicity concerns in 1970 and started to regulate its use as a food additive as a result. Ongoing safety studies eventually resulted in the ban.

Research has also found that the additive can harm the liver and heart. The FDA released a statement stressing its duty to reevaluate food ingredients that have previously raised safety concerns. According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Glocal Branded Food Products Database, more than 600 products could still contain BVO. However, as the USDA relies on producers to update the entries for their products, the list may be inaccurate.

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