FDA finally bans popular soft drink additive due to health concerns

Food and beverage makers will no longer be allowed to use Brominated Vegetable Oil, BVO, as an ingredient in their products. 

The US Food and Drug Administration has banned BVO due to safety concerns. The ingredient was used to prevent flavouring from separating in citrus drinks. The ban takes effect on August 2nd, 2024, with manufacturers given an additional year to reformulate products and deplete existing inventory.

People should continue checking the ingredients listed on products to “avoid BVO, as some older stock may still be in circulation,” the Centre for Science in the Public Interest said in a statement declaring the ban to be long overdue but necessary.

BVO helps blend liquids and is used in about 70 soft drinks and beverages, most of them vibrantly coloured and citrus-flavoured, according to Consumer Reports, citing a database maintained by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

The FDA announced its ban eight months after the agency proposed it, citing studies on animals that showed the ingredient may have adverse health effects in humans.

The FDA determined in 1970 that BVO was not generally recognised as safe, with many beverage makers in the ensuing decades swapping out the ingredient with alternatives. Many beverages on sale today contain BVO, but some have stopped including the ingredient. 

“Toxic additives like BVO that have been shown to pose toxic risks to the thyroid and other chronic health problems should not be allowed in our food,” Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports, said in a statement. “We’re encouraged that the FDA has re-examined recent studies documenting the health risks posed by BVO and is taking action to prohibit its use.”

Already banned for use in food in most European countries, BVO was among four food additives banned by California in October.

The FDA banned the use of BVO due to potential health risks. BVO, once considered safe by the FDA, has been linked to nervous system damage, fatigue, and muscle coordination issues in studies. The ban follows a 2022 study that found BVO accumulation in vital organs of rats.

Source: The Vanguard

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