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Brominated vegetable oil

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**Regulation and Use of Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)**:
– BVO was designated as generally recognized as safe in 1958 in the U.S. but was withdrawn in 1970.
– Current U.S. regulations limit BVO concentration to 15 ppm, free fatty acids to 2.5%, and iodine value to 16.
– Major beverage brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have phased out BVO by 2023.
– Online petition led PepsiCo to stop using BVO in Gatorade in 2013.
– FDA proposed revoking BVO authorization due to health concerns in November 2023.
– BVO is permitted in Canada only in beverages with citrus or spruce oils.
– BVO is banned in the EU since 1970 and in India since 1990.
– Japan banned BVO as a food additive in 2010.
– California law in 2023 banned BVO along with other additives, with nationwide implications.

**Health Effects and Concerns of Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)**:
– Excessive BVO consumption can lead to adverse effects like memory loss and tremors.
– A reported case showed a man experiencing bromism symptoms due to BVO intake.
– BVO has been linked to health concerns prompting bans and restrictions in various countries.
PepsiCo stopped using BVO in all products by early 2020.
– New York and California implemented laws to ban BVO due to health concerns.

**Chemical Properties and Alternatives to Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)**:
– BVO has a CAS number of 8016-94-2 and an EC number of 232-416-5.
– Alternative additives to BVO include sucrose acetate isobutyrate and glycerol ester of wood rosin.
– BVO has a specific density of 1.33g/mL, aiding in emulsification in drinks.
– Similar iodinated oils have been used as contrast agents and for goiter prophylaxis.
– BVO is used to emulsify citrus drinks since 1931.

**Regulations, Bans, and Legislative Actions**:
– California banned BVO along with other additives in 2023.
– California Food Safety Act AB-418 regulates food safety in the state.
– FDA has proposed a ban on an additive found in sodas.
– Health Canada has a list of permitted food additives with accepted uses.
– California was the first state to ban four food additives associated with diseases.

**Media Coverage and Research on Food Additives**:
– The National Academies Press, Institute of Medicine, and CRC Press have publications on food technologies and additives.
– Research has been conducted on the effects of bromism from cola consumption.
– Media outlets like The Washington Post, NPR, CNN, and San Diego Reader have covered topics related to BVO, food additives, and regulatory actions.
– Additives like BVO, red dye No. 3, potassium bromate, and propyl paraben have been linked to health risks, prompting bans and regulatory scrutiny.
– FDA is proactive in addressing additives that pose health risks to consumers.

Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is a complex mixture of plant-derived triglycerides that have been modified by atoms of the element bromine bonded to the fat molecules. Brominated vegetable oil is used to help emulsify citrus-flavored soft drinks, preventing them from separating during distribution. Brominated vegetable oil has been used by the soft drink industry since 1931, generally at a level of about 8 ppm.

Careful control of the type of oil used allows bromination of it to produce BVO with a specific density of 1.33 g/mL, which is 33% greater than water (1 g/mL). As a result, it can be mixed with less-dense flavoring agents such as citrus oil to produce an oil which matches the density of water or other products. The droplets containing BVO remain suspended in the water rather than separating and floating to the surface.

Alternative food additives used for the same purpose include sucrose acetate isobutyrate (SAIB, E444) and glycerol ester of wood rosin (ester gum, E445).

Similar iodinated oils have been used as contrast agents and for goiter prophylaxis in populations with low dietary iodine intake.

Chemical structure of a representative constituent of BVO, featuring, from the top, brominated linoleate, linolenoate, and oleate esters.

Brominated vegetable oil has the CAS number 8016-94-2 and the EC number 232-416-5.

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