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Soda sales around the world have sky-rocketed in the last 6 decades. Brands such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Cadbury Schweppes have made billions of dollars in revenue selling their flavorful and bubbly beverages worldwide. Another trend running parallel to this one; lack of reading nutrition labels. Major food companies recognize that many consumers neglect to read the nutrition fact labels. Therefore, they have more room to sneak in potentially harmful ingredients without raising any eyebrows. One ingredient in particular is brominated vegetable oil.
As mentioned in last week’s blog pertaining to potassium bromate; Bromine is a harmful halogen element which is highly reactive and potentially lethal to biological organisms. In soda applications, bromine is bonded to atoms of vegetable oil to be used as an emulsifier. This emulsifier helps citrus flavors stay suspended in the beverage and also provide a cloudy appearance. Brominated vegetable oil has been used in soda industries since the early 1930′s.
In many countries, BVO has already been banned as a food additive. However, the US has yet to make take this step. So how does the FDA regulate this ingredient? BVO is on the short list of interim food additives. This is basically a list of “questionable” food additives that are still in production as research continues to explore the safety and potential health effects. Why this list was created?
“The Commissioner recognizes that, with the vast increase in the quantity of scientific testing and in the sophistication of test methodology, there is virtually no[ ] natural or synthetic food substance that cannot be questioned on some technical ground. It would be impossible to require elimination from the food supply of every food substance for which such scientific questions have been or will be raised.”
Currently, BVO is added in certain quantities to flavorings for citrus sodas. Make sure to closely examine food labels and be on the lookout for this ingredients!