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FDA proposes ban on once-popular food additive

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(The Center Square) – Federal regulators on Thursday proposed a ban on brominated vegetable oil, a food additive that studies show could potentially be harmful to humans.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that brominated vegetable oil in food was no longer safe after the results of studies conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health found the potential for adverse health effects in humans.

Brominated vegetable oil is a vegetable oil that is modified with bromine. The FDA authorized its use in small amounts to keep the citrus flavoring from separating and floating to the top of some beverages. In 1970, the FDA determined brominated vegetable oil was no longer “Generally Recognized as Safe” and began overseeing its use under food additive regulations. Since then, many beverage makers reformulated their products to replace brominated vegetable oil with an alternative ingredient.

Few beverages in the U.S. today contain brominated vegetable oil.

In October, lawmakers in California took steps to ban brominated vegetable oil along with three other food ingredients. It also is banned in Japan and the European Union.

The FDA is reviewing the color additive regulations authorizing the use of FD&C Red No. 3 in ingested drugs and foods.

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