‘No Longer Considered Safe’: FDA Proposes Banning Oil Used in Drinks

drinking soda
Andrija Nikolic (via Getty)

Federal officials on Thursday proposed banning the use of a certain vegetable oil in foods due to safety concerns.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it wants to “revoke the regulation authorizing the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in food.”

Officials concluded the use of the oil in food is no longer considered safe, as studies found it could possibly cause adverse effects in people.

The FDA’s announcement continued:

BVO is a vegetable oil that is modified with bromine. It is authorized by the FDA for use in small amounts to keep the citrus flavoring from separating and floating to the top of some beverages. In 1970, the FDA determined BVO was no longer “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) and began overseeing its use under our food additive regulations. Over the years many beverage makers reformulated their products to replace BVO with an alternative ingredient, and today, few beverages in the U.S. contain BVO.

Recent toxicology studies conducted in collaboration with the NIH have now given us conclusive scientific evidence to support our proposal to remove the FDA’s food additive authorization for BVO.

According to Middlesex Health, there has been controversy regarding the use of the oil for many years, and some other countries have already banned it from being used in food.

The site’s article said the ingredient bromine can irritate a person’s skin and their mucous membranes.

“Long-term exposure can cause neurologic symptoms such as headache, memory loss, and impaired balance or coordination,” the site reads.

BVO is typically found on the nutrition facts list on diet soda drinks, the Food Network explains, adding that “BVO is usually derived from corn or soybean oil.”

The site notes the oil is banned in Japan and Europe. It details various products’ disuse of BVO: “In 2013, PepsiCo announce that it would remove BVO from Gatorade products. In 2014, Coca-Cola announced removal of BVO from all products.”

Meanwhile, the FDA noted California has moved to ban the use of BVO.


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