Why does the FDA propose to ban Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) used in fruit-flavored drinks?


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken a significant step by prohibiting the utilization of Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) in fruit-flavored beverages, such as soda and sports drinks. This decision comes in response to numerous research findings indicating its adverse effects on the thyroid, liver, and heart, while also posing a potential risk of neurological issues.

This upcoming Friday, the FDA is scheduled to release its proposed regulation, classifying brominated vegetable oil, which is presently found in Sun Drop and certain Walmart brand sodas, as a "health hazard." Additionally, the FDA will request the manufactures to stop using this harmful ingredient.

What is Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)?

Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) is an additive that has stirred up some controversy in the world of food and beverages. But what exactly is BVO? Well, it's a synthetic substance derived from vegetable oil that has been chemically altered with bromine, a chemical element. The purpose of BVO in many popular drinks is to act as an emulsifier, helping to mix the flavors and colors, preventing them from separating.

Brominated Vegetable Oil Uses

BVO is commonly used in fruit-flavored soft drinks, citrus-flavored sodas, and some sports drinks. It serves as an essential ingredient to evenly distribute the flavor and color components throughout the liquid, providing that consistent taste we've come to expect.

What is Bad About Brominated Vegetable Oil?

The concerning part about BVO is its potential health risks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expressed worries about BVO since the 1970s. It was initially classified as "generally recognized as safe," but then it was declassified due to safety concerns. The FDA recognized BVO as a "health threat," proposing to ban its use due to potential adverse effects.

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Brominated vegetable oil, primarily used as a stabilizer for fruit-flavored oils that provide popular beverage flavors like orange, berry, and fruit punch, has been found to have adverse effects. The FDA highlights its toxicity to the thyroid in rodents and pigs, raising substantial concerns about its impact on human health.

Brominated Vegetable Oil Toxicity Symptoms

Studies have shown that BVO can be harmful to our health. In animal studies, BVO was found to be "toxic to the thyroid," and it can also lead to bromism. Bromism is a condition caused by chronic exposure to bromine, which can result in symptoms like memory loss, tremors, and slurred speech. Additionally, residues of BVO have been discovered in the fatty tissues of the brain, liver, and other organs, raising concerns about its long-term effects.

Industry Response and Global Bans

Notably, major beverage giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have voluntarily phased out this ingredient from their products due to concerns about its health risks. Furthermore, it's worth mentioning that brominated vegetable oil has already been banned in the European Union, India, Japan, and the state of California. California made headlines recently by banning four food and drink additives associated with various diseases, becoming the first state to prohibit chemicals that are still permitted at the federal level.

Does Mountain Dew Still Have BVO?

For those wondering about Mountain Dew, the popular soda has undergone some changes. In response to the concerns about BVO, many beverage companies, including those that produce Mountain Dew, have phased out BVO from their products. The good news is that Mountain Dew no longer contains BVO as an ingredient. However, it's always a good idea to check the label and ingredients of the specific product to stay informed about what you're consuming.

In summary, BVO is an additive that was once commonly used in some beverages but has faced scrutiny due to its potential health risks. While it's been phased out of many products, it's essential to stay vigilant about the ingredients in the food and drinks you consume to make informed choices about your health.

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