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FDA Withdraws Rule Permitting Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) in Food

Updated: Jul 8



Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is rescinding the regulation permitting the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in food. BVO is a vegetable oil treated with bromine. The FDA determined that using BVO in food is no longer considered safe following studies conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that indicated potential adverse health effects in humans.


Since the FDA removed BVO from the list of Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) substances in 1970, it has been regulated as a food additive. It was used in small quantities to prevent citrus flavoring from separating in certain beverages, with manufacturers required to list BVO or specific types like brominated soybean oil on ingredient labels when used. Currently, few beverages in the U.S. contain BVO.




“Reassessing the safety of chemicals that have been previously authorized for use in or with foods, as new, relevant data become available, is a priority for the FDA. We are committed to conducting reassessments to ensure that our original determinations of safety have held up over time. The removal of the only authorized use of BVO from the food supply was based on a thorough review of current science and research findings that raised safety concerns. We will continue to monitor emerging evidence on the chemicals we have targeted for reassessment, and in cases such as this, where the science no longer supports continued authorized use, we will take action to protect public health,” says Jim Jones, Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods.

This regulatory action falls under the FDA's authority to oversee food additives, involving reassessment of previously approved ingredients and addressing safety concerns. Continuously evaluating food ingredient safety as new data emerges is a primary focus of the FDA's food safety mission.


The rule will take effect on August 2, 2024. Companies will have one year from the effective date to comply with the rule, allowing time for reformulation, relabeling, and depletion of existing BVO-containing products before the FDA enforces the final regulation.





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