The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it is working to ban the use of a long-controversial ingredient found in food and beverages, which has already been banned in a list of other countries.
Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO — which contains the flame-retardant bromine — is outlawed in parts of the world including in Europe and in India and Japan.
The FDA's new announcement comes after the U.S. state of California said it would ban the ingredient, along with a list of other additives. The FDA said it conducted more studies, in collaboration with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Division of Translational Toxicology, which "clearly show adverse health effects in animals in levels" that closely match real-world intake through products which contain BVO.
The FDA said it concluded that the use of BVO in food products consumed by humans is no longer safe.
BVO, which is a vegetable oil modified with bromine, has been permitted in products in the U.S. in small amounts by the FDA for decades. Even after the health agency determined in 1970 that the ingredient is not "generally recognized as safe," it was still permitted to be used or included in products sold in the U.S.
Some U.S. brands have already said in the past they would avoid using BVO.
Brian Ronholm, a director in food policy with Consumer Reports, said, "Toxic additives like BVO — that have been shown to pose toxic risks to the thyroid and other chronic health problems — should not be allowed in our food. We're encouraged that the FDA has re-examined recent studies documenting the health risks posed by BVO and is taking action to prohibit its use."
The ingredient is used in at least 70 products sold in the U.S., according to Food Safety News. It is used in products including citrus-flavored sodas to help maintain the tangy taste mixed throughout the beverages.
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