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January 1, Toxic Ingredient Banned by FDA: Find Out What Item Is Affected



It’s no secret that most sodas aren’t exactly healthy. However, there’s more to worry about than just high sugar content. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to ban brominated vegetable oil (BVO), a potentially toxic ingredient found in certain popular sodas.

In a July 2 constituent update, the FDA announced it would be “revoking the regulation authorizing the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in food.” BVO, a vegetable oil modified with the element bromine, has been used as a food ingredient since the 1920s. Concerns about its safety arose in the late ’60s, and the FDA has been evaluating new information about BVO’s potential health effects ever since.

A recent study conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) proved to be the deciding factor. The research, conducted on rats, showed that BVO is potentially toxic to the thyroid. “The data from the study suggest that oral exposure to BVO is associated with increased tissue levels of bromine and that at high levels of exposure the thyroid is a target organ of potential negative health effects in rodents,” the FDA stated on its website.

As a result, the agency concluded that “the intended use of BVO in food is no longer considered safe.” The new BVO ban will officially go into effect on Aug. 2, with a one-year compliance date to allow companies to reformulate, relabel, and deplete the inventory of BVO-containing products before the FDA begins enforcing the final rule.

Many beverage makers have already removed BVO from their products after the FDA began regulating the food additive in 1970. “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,” said Jim Jones, FDA’s deputy commissioner for human foods, in a Nov. 2023 statement.

However, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that dozens of products still use BVO as an ingredient, mostly in sodas. Walmart, which carries some store-brand sodas containing BVO, is working with private brand suppliers to reformulate products. Keurig Dr. Pepper, the company that owns Sun Drop, is also actively working to reformulate the drink to remove BVO.

Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs at the EWG, called the FDA’s decision a “victory for public health,” but criticized the decades of regulatory inaction.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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