FDA finally bans soda ingredients banned worldwide: ScienceAlert

An ingredient that was commonly used in citrus-flavored soft drinks to keep the refreshing taste well-mixed throughout the drink may finally be banned across the United States.

The US Food and Drug Administration in November proposed deregistering modified vegetable oil known as BVO in the wake of… Modern toxicological studies Which makes it difficult to support its continued use.

“The proposed action is an example of how the agency can monitor emerging evidence and, when needed, conduct scientific research to investigate safety issues, and take regulatory action when science does not support the continued safe use of additives in foods,” James Jones said. , Deputy Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration for Human Foods, He explained when announcing the proposal.

BFU, or Brominated vegetable oilIt has been used as an emulsifying agent since the 1930s to ensure citrus flavoring agents do not float to the top of soft drinks. Attaching dozens of bromine atoms to triglycerides creates a dense oil that floats evenly in water when mixed with less dense fats.

But that's not BVO's only trick. Animal studies It strongly suggested that the compound could slowly accumulate in our adipose tissue. with Potential capacity of bromine To prevent iodine from doing its job Very important work Within the thyroid, health authorities around the world have been skeptical of the emulsion's dangers for decades.

In fact, BVO oil has already been banned in several countries, including India, Japan, and European Union countries, and was banned in California in October 2022 with legislation. It is scheduled to enter into force in 2027.

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However, the FDA was slow to convince. In the 1950s, the agency considered the component to be… Generally recognized as safe (GRAS); An official rating gives items that have been adequately tested or – for ingredients in common use before 1958 – do not appear to be harmful.

That changed in the following decade when questions were raised about its potential toxicity, prompting the FDA to revoke BVO's GRAS classification and Limit its use temporarily To relatively small concentrations of no more than 15 ppm exclusively in citrus-flavored beverages.

Data on the risks posed by even these small amounts of crude vegetable oil have not been easy to collect over time, relying largely on long-term studies that re-evaluate health effects in large sample sizes of people. However, the evidence is slowly mounting.

a Studying in the United Kingdom in the 1970s Bromine has been found to accumulate in human tissue, with animal studies linking it to high concentrations of BVO With heart And Behavioral problems.

It took time and a number of additional studies, but… Again from recent animal studies Based on the relative concentrations of BVO that humans would likely ingest, the FDA was finally convinced that there was enough evidence to ban its use completely.

Fortunately, most of the major soft drink companies are ahead of the game. It was PepsiCo and Coca-Cola Phasing out ingredients in their products During the past decade.

“Over the years, many beverage makers have reformulated their products to replace BVO with an alternative ingredient, and today, few beverages in the United States contain BVO.” He said Jones.

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The ban could be a sign of more things to come, as Jones announced that the agency is reviewing regulations that allow the use of certain food additives, with the goal of automatically blocking the approval of any food coloring agents found to cause cancer in humans or animals. , making the bureaucratic process smarter.

The final call on the FDA's reclassification of BVO still needs to go through a lengthy review process that will take time to complete.

with Suitable alternatives Since BVO is already used to make citrus drinks around the world that taste refreshing down to the last drop, this ingredient is unlikely to be missed.

A previous version of this article was published in November 2023.

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