Brominated vegetable oil in food: FDA revokes authorization, prioritizing consumer safety

In a significant move, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially revoked the authorization for using brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in food due to concerns about consumer safety.    

BVO, which is a vegetable oil modified with bromine, was previously used in certain beverages to prevent the separation of citrus flavoring. However, recent collaborative studies conducted with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have revealed potential health risks associated with BVO consumption.    

The FDA's decision highlights the agency's commitment to ensuring the safety of food additives and protecting public health. Manufacturers utilizing BVO in their products will need to comply with the new regulation within one year from the ruling's effective date. This timeline allows them to reformulate their products, update labeling, and manage existing BVO inventory.    

The concerns surrounding BVO relate to its potential adverse effects on the thyroid, liver, and heart, as well as its tendency to accumulate in human tissues. This has led to growing consumer awareness and calls for its removal from food products. Major beverage companies, such as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, have already phased out the use of BVO. However, it may still be present in some lesser-known or store-brand products.    

The FDA had regulated BVO as a food additive since 1970, after removing it from the list of Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) substances.  
Although only a limited number of beverages in the United States have contained BVO, according to the FDA, manufacturers using BVO were required to list it on the ingredients label. The recent revocation is part of the FDA's broader responsibility to oversee food additives and ensure public safety.    

The FDA's decision aligns with actions taken by other regions, including the European Union and Japan, which have banned the use of BVO in food.    

The new ruling will take effect on August 2, with a compliance date set for one year later. This timeline grants manufacturers the opportunity to reformulate their products, update labeling, and manage existing inventory containing BVO before the FDA initiates enforcement.    

The FDA's decision to revoke the authorization for BVO in food underscores the importance of prioritizing consumer safety and staying vigilant in monitoring food additives. With the compliance date set for one year from the ruling's effective date, it is expected that manufacturers will take necessary steps to comply with the new regulation and ensure the removal of BVO from their products.