FDA Bans Popular Soft Drink Additive Over Health Concerns

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in food and beverage products due to safety concerns. BVO was previously used as a stabilizer to prevent citrus flavoring from separating in certain drinks.

The ban takes effect on August 2, 2024, with manufacturers given an additional year to reformulate products and deplete existing inventory containing BVO. Consumers should continue checking product labels to avoid BVO, as some older stock may still be in circulation.

BVO was used in around 70 soft drinks and beverages, primarily those with vibrant colors and citrus flavors. The FDA's decision to ban BVO comes eight months after proposing the ban, citing animal studies that showed potential adverse health effects in humans.

In 1970, the FDA determined that BVO was not generally recognized as safe, leading many beverage makers to replace it with alternatives over the following decades. However, some beverages on the market today still contain BVO.

"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," said Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports.

BVO is already banned for use in food in most European countries and was among four food additives banned by California in October 2023. The FDA's ban follows a 2022 study that found BVO accumulation in vital organs of rats

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