May 27, 2024

FDA Plans to Ban Brominated Vegetable Oil in Food

The FDA plans to ban the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in food, after studies conducted with the National Institutes of Health found the product is potentially dangerous for human consumption. Brominated vegetable oil is a mixture of brominated triglycerides that are made by combining bromine with unsaturated vegetable oils.

FDA Plans to Ban Brominated Vegetable Oil in Food

BVO is authorized for use in small amounts to keep citrus flavoring from separating and floating to the top of some beverages. The FDA took BVO off the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list in 1970 and began overseeing its use under food additive regulations. Many beverage makers have reformulated their products to replace BVO. Now, few beverages available in the United States contain BVO.

Scientists found that the thyroid is a target organ of toxicity following dietary brominated vegetable oil exposure in rats. The animals were fed doses of the chemical that simulate real life exposure and then damage in organs and issues was measured. Th4e thyroid is a gland that produces hormones that regulate blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, metabolisms and the reaction of the body to other hormones.

The FDA says that these toxicology studies have “now given us conclusive scientific evidence to support our proposal to remove the FDA’s food additive authorization for BVO.” In other words, the FDA can no longer conclude that the use of BVO in food is safe.

California recently banned the use of four food ingredients, including brominated vegetable oil, Red 3, polyparaben, and potassium bromate in food. FDA is reviewing color additive regulations authorizing the use of FD&C Red No. 3 in ingested drugs and foods under the Delaney Clause of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. That Act prohibits the FDA from approving a color additive that is ingested if it causes cancer in humans or animals. A decision from the FDA is “forthcoming.”

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