I have been reading about Fanta (and some other drinks like Fresca, Mountain Dew, and Gatorade) containing BVO, or brominated vegetable oil, lately. According to Wikipedia, BVO is “vegetable oil that has had atoms of the element bromine bonded to it. Brominated vegetable oil is used as an emulsifier in citrus-flavored soft drinks to help natural fat-soluble citrus flavors stay suspended in the drink and to produce a cloudy appearance. The addition of bromine increases the density of the oil, and the amount of bromine is carefully controlled to achieve a density that is the same as the water in the drink. As a result, the BVO remains suspended in the water instead of forming separate layers.”
Then I read (also on Wiki) that: “Standards for soft drinks in India and the UK prohibit the use of BVO” because of “health concerns” over the use of BVO. As a result of these health issues, India and the UK have banned it (along with 98 other countries) in favor of other food additives like Ester of Wood Rosin which are NOT side products of toxic, reactive elements.
Do you know what bromine is? It’s an element..it’s toxic, it’s corrosive, and it can cause all sorts of health issues if mixed with other chemicals or if higher amounts are introduced into the body. Bromine is also used as a gasoline additive, pesticide additives, and even sedatives (…but in the 70’s bromine was found to ignite all sorts of psychiatric disorders to they stopped that..).
Have no fear though, the FDA says the levels of bromine in BVO are safe. So, no reason to be cautious, right? No. Bromine gets stored in your fat cells and builds up over time, increasing your risk for bromine’s toxic side effects to emerge. Side effects like nausea, excessive sweating, dizziness, blurred vision, cramps, birth defects, fatigue, vomiting, and convulsions. That Mountain Dew tastes great now, huh? Some food and beverage manufacturers DON’T have to list it as an ingredient and they reportedly have been using it in their products since the 30’s.
Anyway, there are a handful of groups putting pressure on the FDA to bring the overseas ban to the US and to remove this chemical from our daily diets. Until then, be cautious and minimize your intake of this chemical. It’s in breads as potassium bromate, also in some other foods as calcium bromate.
You all know that I am health conscious, but I also like to enjoy my foods. BVO is something to keep an eye out for and avoid if you can, but don’t go all batshit crazy about this like it’s the end of the world. As with all things, just be cautious.