CNN –The US Food and Drug Administration has proposed revoking its regulation authorizing the nationwide use of brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, as an additive in food.
The FDA’s decision comes after California banned the ingredient in October by passing the California Food Safety Act, the first state law in the United States to ban brominated vegetable oil. The additive is already banned in Europe and Japan.
“The agency concluded that the intended use of BVO in food is no longer considered safe after the results of studies conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health … found the potential for adverse health effects in humans,” said James Jones, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for human foods, in a statement.
Brominated vegetable oil — vegetable oil modified by bromine, a pungent, deep red oily chemical — is used as an emulsifier in citrus-flavored beverages to keep the flavoring from separating and floating to the top. Bromine is also commonly used in flame retardants.
At least 90 products — mostly sodas — use brominated vegetable oil as an ingredient, according to the Eat Well Guide by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research and advocacy group that focuses on consumer health, toxic chemicals and pollutants.
C’mon, Walmart, you can do better!
Brominated vegetable oil is currently found in these products:
- Great Value Fruit Punch Soda Pop [at 98 cents for a two liter bottle, the cheapest possible ingredients are to be expected]
- Great Value Orangette Orange Soda
- Harris Teeter Mountain Roar and orange sodas
- Sun Drop, made by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group
- Ahold orange and fruit punch sodas
- Food Lion Mountain Lion citrus and fruit punch sodas
SOURCE: Environmental Working Group
The low number of products containing this ingredient is due to past restrictions by the FDA.
“In 1970, the FDA determined BVO was no longer ‘Generally Recognized as Safe’ … and began overseeing its use under our food additive regulations,” Jones said in a statement.
“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.”
Additionally, a 2012 petition with more than 200,000 signatures also brought attention to health concerns, according to an EWG news release. It also said many companies eliminated it from consumer products due to market pressure.
Brominated vegetable oil has been linked to health hazards including nervous system damage, headaches, skin and mucous membrane irritation, fatigue, and loss of muscle coordination and memory, according to the EWG.
The ingredient can also accumulate in the body over time …