FDA seeks to revoke brominated vegetable oil regulation

Posted: 3 November 2023 | | No comments yet

The FDA has proposed a rule to revoke regulation that allows the use of brominated vegetable oil in food based on data and remaining “unresolved safety questions”.


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed to revoke the regulation authorising the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in food.

BVO is a vegetable oil that is modified with bromine, an ingredient that has been used in food since the 1920s. As authorised, bromine is used in some beverages in small amounts to keep the citrus flavouring from floating to the top.

Now, the Administration is issuing a proposed rule after reviewing recent data from studies that “demonstrate adverse health effects in animals at levels more closely approximating real-world human exposure”.

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According to the FDA, based on these data and remaining unresolved safety questions, the regulatory body can “no longer conclude that the use of BVO in food is safe” as results from the studies reportedly show bioaccumulation of bromine and toxic effects on the thyroid.

The studies were conducted with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Division of Translational Toxicology with the aim of assessing unresolved toxicological questions. Since 1970, the FDA has regulated BVO as a food additive after the agency removed it from the codified list of Generally Recognised As Safe or “GRAS” substances.

According to the Administration, “many beverage makers have reformulated their products to replace BVO with an alternative ingredient” and while today there are “few beverages” available in the US that contain BVO, consumers may still be actively looking to avoid products that contain brominated vegetable oil and can do so by checking ingredients lists on product labels.