The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the revoke of a regulation that allows the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in food.

BVO is a chemical ingredient containing bromine, which is found in fire retardants.

In the US, BVO is legally used in small quantities in some citrus-flavoured drinks to keep the flavour evenly distributed.

The US health agency said that the intended use of BVO in food is no longer considered safe, based on the results from the recent studies.

FDA conducted the studies in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and found that BVO would pose potential adverse health effects in humans.

The agency’s action is part of its regulatory authority over ingredients added to food, which includes reassessing previously evaluated food ingredients and addressing safety concerns.

FDA in its statement said: “Reassessing the safety of food ingredients as new, relevant data become available, is a priority for the FDA and a key part of our food safety mission.

“The rule is effective on 2 August 2024. The compliance date for this rule is one year after the effective date, to provide the opportunity for companies to reformulate, relabel, and deplete the inventory of BVO-containing products before the FDA begins enforcing the final rule.”

The FDA has regulated BVO as a food additive since the agency removed the ingredient from the codified list of generally recognised as safe (GRAS) substances in 1970.

Since then, BVO has been used in small amounts to keep the citrus flavouring from floating to the top in some beverages, and manufacturers were required to list BVO in the ingredients list.

Last year, the US FDA proposed to amend the regulations to revoke the use of BVO in fruit-flavoured beverages, as continued use of BVO in food is not determined as harmless.