The Food and Drug Administration may ban the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in food, the agency announced in a statement on Thursday.
The organization “proposed to revoke the regulation authorizing” its use and declared that “the intended use of BVO in food is no longer considered safe,” citing studies conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which found potentially dangerous health effects.
The citrus-boosting additive was previously used in beverages including Gatorade, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other products and still remains in drinks including Sun Drop and numerous off-brand sodas.
The FDA announced that the toxicology reports have given the administration “conclusive scientific evidence to support [the] proposal to remove the FDA’s food additive authorization for BVO.”
The government agency first noted that the food additive was deemed no longer “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) in 1970 when the agency first began regulating the vegetable oil.
Since then, many food companies have voluntarily reformulated their products to eliminate the use of BVO.
“Health concerns about BVO stem from one of its ingredients, bromine. Bromine can irritate the skin, nose, mouth and stomach,” Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietitian at the Mayo Clinic, told the Food Network.
“It’s also been linked to neurologic symptoms in people who drink large quantities of citrus soda — more than 2 liters a day.”
Just last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill prohibiting the sale of food containing four chemicals, including BVO.
The new California law takes effect Jan. 1, 2027, imposing fines of up to $10,000 for violations.
The four ingredients — BVO, potassium bromate, propylparaben and red dye No. 3 — are already banned in the European Union due to research linking them to cancer, reproductive issues and other health problems.
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