Do you or someone you know drink Mountain Dew, Powerade, Fanta Orange, Fresca, or Squirt? If so, you may want to take another look at what these drinks contain, and the effects their ingredients could have on your health.
Most of these drinks contain brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, and the effects of this controversial ingredient on humans have not been studied since the 1970s. BVO is also not recognized as "generally safe for human consumption" by the FDA.
Although BVO is legally used as an ingredient in citrus-flavored beverages in the US, the safety of its use has come into question in recent years after two cases of overconsumption of beverages containing the product landed consumers in the hospital. The USFDA removed BVO from its Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) ingredient list in the 1970s, and gave it an “interim” status, “pending the outcome of additional toxicological studies” which were to be conducted every six months before a conclusion was reached. Thirty-six years later, the ingredient has been banned in India, Japan, and throughout Europe, but continues to be used in the US, although it has not been restored to its place on the GRAS list.
The American Beverage Association (ABA), whose members include Coca Cola, PepsiCo, and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, (companies which use BVO as ingredients in some of their drinks), supports the use of BVO by its member companies, stating that it is currently approved by the FDA and therefore a harmless ingredient. Unfortunately, it appears that the USDA has slacked on protecting US citizens from a potentially harmful ingredient – but this does not mean that the product should continue to be used. It is the responsibility of the American Beverage Association to allow only those companies which take the health of their consumers seriously to be part of their association. Until the FDA moves BVO to its Generally Recognized as Safe list, it should not continue to be used for widespread consumption.
Please join me in asking the American Beverage Association to require its members to remove BVO from their products until it has been moved to the FDA's Generally Recognized as Safe list, and to instead utilize a suitable replacement for the ingredient, as many other countries have done. In addition, new studies on BVO should be conducted not by companies with a vested interest in the results (such as the soda companies themselves), but by a third party. An organization that claims to care about the health of American consumers cannot in good conscious continue to use an ingredient that has failed to meet the highest standards of the FDA, and that has not been thoroughly studied for decades.