Soda Additive Banned By FDA, ‘No Longer Considered Safe’

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Tuesday it’s revoking the regulation authorizing the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in food.

“Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is a vegetable oil that is modified with bromine. The agency concluded that the intended use of BVO in food is no longer considered safe after the results of studies conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found the potential for adverse health effects in humans,” the FDA wrote.

The rule is effective August 2nd.

“BVO is a chemical ingredient containing bromine, which is found in fire retardants. Small quantities of BVO are used legally in some citrus-flavored drinks in the United States to keep the flavor evenly distributed,” NBC News wrote.


“Reassessing the safety of chemicals that have been previously authorized for use in or with foods, as new, relevant data become available, is a priority for the FDA. We are committed to conducting reassessments to ensure that our original determinations of safety have held up over time. The removal of the only authorized use of BVO from the food supply was based on a thorough review of current science and research findings that raised safety concerns. We will continue to monitor emerging evidence on the chemicals we have targeted for reassessment, and in cases such as this, where the science no longer supports continued authorized use, we will take action to protect public health,” Jim Jones, Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods, said.

Per NBC News:

The agency had first proposed to revoke the regulation in November 2023. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, BVO was banned in the UK in 1970, followed by India in 1990, the EU in 2008 and Japan in 2010.

In 1970, the FDA had concluded that its use in food was not generally recognized as safe because of toxicity concerns. After this, the agency began regulating BVO as a food additive, while simultaneously conducting safety studies.

“The FDA’s new regulation to not allow BVO as a food additive is a terrific positive in the right direction,” said Michael Ashley Schulman, chief investment officer at Running Point Capital Advisors.

As per FDA rules, whenever a company was using the ingredient in any product, it was necessary to list it on the label.

Over time, many beverage makers have replaced BVO with an alternative ingredient, according to the FDA. “Today, few beverages in the U.S. contain BVO,” it said.

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have removed BVO from their drinks such as Gatorade and Fanta, respectively.

NBC News noted that Sun Drop, manufactured by Keurig Dr Pepper, still uses BVO.

“This is probably the biggest national brand that still uses it,” CFRA Research’s Arun Sundaram said, according to NBC News.

From The Hill:

BVO is typically added to sodas to stop citrus flavoring from separating and floating to the top of the drink. The FDA initially proposed banning BVO from food last fall, pointing to studies that found the additive is toxic to the thyroid.

The ingredient list may show “brominated vegetable oil” or a more specific oil, such as “brominated soybean oil.” The FDA noted that many beverage makers have reformulated their recipes to replace BVO with a different ingredient, adding that just a “few” beverages in the U.S. still contain the additive.

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