USA – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially revoked the regulation that previously authorized the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in food.

This decision follows collaborative studies with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that identified potential adverse health effects in humans from BVO consumption.

BVO, a vegetable oil modified with bromine, has been used in small quantities to prevent the separation of citrus flavoring in certain beverages.

Since 1970, the FDA had regulated BVO as a food additive after removing it from the list of Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) substances.

Despite its authorization, only a limited number of beverages in the U.S. have contained BVO, according to the FDA. Manufacturers using BVO were required to list it, or its specific type such as brominated soybean oil, on the ingredients label.

This regulatory action is part of the FDA’s broader mandate to oversee food additives and ensure their safety.

The agency emphasized the importance of reassessing the safety of food ingredients as new scientific data emerge. This approach is integral to the FDA’s mission to maintain food safety standards and protect public health.

The new rule becomes effective on August 2, with a compliance date set for one year later. This timeframe allows manufacturers the opportunity to reformulate products, update labeling, and manage existing inventory containing BVO before the FDA begins enforcement.

Health concerns and market response

Research has shown that BVO could negatively impact the thyroid, liver, and heart, and its consumption has raised concerns about its accumulation in human tissues.

Public pressure has also significantly reduced BVO use. A 2012 petition on urged beverage companies to remove BVO from their products, gaining over 200,000 signatures.

In response, many major brands, including PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, have phased out BVO from their beverages. However, according to EWG, it is still present in some lesser-known or store-brand products​​.

International and state-level bans

BVO’s use is not limited to the United States; however, its safety has been questioned globally. The European Union and Japan have already banned the use of BVO in food products. Additionally, California recently included BVO in its list of banned substances, along with red dye No. 3, potassium bromate, and propylparaben​.

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