Soda Additive Gets Banned By the FDA

Soda Additive Gets Banned By the FDA

( – Many prepared food products in the United States include additives to keep the items fresh, extend shelf life, or prevent separation. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve them, and the manufacturers must follow the established safety limits with the amounts they add. Now, the agency has revoked its approval of one long-used additive for safety reasons after a series of studies showed it might cause adverse health effects.

Brominated vegetable oil, BVO, is a vegetable oil modified with the element bromine. The combination makes the BVO heavier than water and helps with emulsion. Soft drink and sports drink makers have used the additive since the 1920s to help prevent separation in some citrus drinks. However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently conducted a 90-day dietary exposure study to determine whether concerns over toxicities raised in the past had any merit.

Scientists fed rats a steady diet of BVO. They discovered that regular consumption could lead to issues in the hypothalamic–pituitary–thyroid (HPT) axis, a complex neuroendocrine system responsible for a myriad of body functions, including reproduction, growth, and metabolism.

On July 3, following the release of the study’s findings, the FDA announced it was revoking the regulation allowing the use of bromine in food items, citing safety concerns and “the potential for adverse health effects in humans.” The ban goes into effect on August 2.

For the most part, most manufacturers that used BVO for emulsion purposes replaced the additive years ago. The FDA noted that “today, few beverages in the U.S. contain BVO.”

This instance wasn’t the first time the FDA has considered banning the additive. The subject of its safety has come up several times over the past seven decades. Studies in the 1960s and 70s showed that it might damage the heart. However, scientists revealed that they fed animal test subjects far more than the equivalent amount a human would consume. Nevertheless, the FDA removed BVO from the “Generally Recognized as Safe” list in the late 1960s and limited its addition to food products to 15 parts per million. Now, the agency is banning the additive altogether.

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