The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently proposed a nationwide ban on brominated vegetable oil, also known as BVO, in food products. This decision comes after California became the first US state to prohibit BVO with the California Food Safety Act. BVO, used as an emulsifying agent in citrus-flavored drinks, has already been banned in Europe and Japan. The FDA’s move is based on extensive research revealing potential health risks linked to BVO.

BVO, a chemical found in some products, has decreased due to FDA restrictions and a 2012 petition. The FDA withdrew BVO’s designation as ‘Generally Recognized as Safe’ in 1970, prompting beverage makers to explore alternative ingredients and remove BVO from their products. The FDA’s proposed ban is grounded in studies, mostly on animals, that indicated potential adverse effects on the thyroid gland, a vital regulator of various body functions. This decision is part of the FDA’s ongoing commitment to monitoring emerging scientific evidence and taking regulatory steps to ensure food safety. Public feedback on this proposed rule will be accepted until January 17, allowing input from different stakeholders. If the ban is enacted, beverage manufacturers will have a designated period to adjust their products before the new regulation takes effect. Additionally, the FDA is reviewing the potential risks associated with red dye No. 3, a synthetic food coloring, as part of California’s broader food additive ban.