MTN DEW Is Safe From A Possible FDA Ban

A proposed ban from the FDA puts many other sodas and soft drinks at risk.

A recently proposed ban from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration puts a number of soda products at risk, but some major brands are already one step ahead. The FDA has proposed to reverse a regulation that allows the use of the ingredient brominated vegetable oil (BVO) as a food additive in certain products. Spoiler alert: MTN DEW has escaped scrutiny.

At the risk of stating the obvious, brominated vegetable oil is a type of vegetable oil that has been modified with bromine. The food additive is most commonly used to "keep the citrus flavoring from separating and floating to the top of some beverages," as the FDA describes in its announcement of the proposed ban.

BVO has been used in certain products since the 1970s, and for a time it was considered "Generally Recognized as Safe" by the FDA. Under current regulations, BVO is allowed in small amounts.

However, recent toxicology studies conducted by the FDA and the National Institutes of Health have shown that prolonged exposure to the ingredient could be toxic to people's thyroids. Concerns about BVO were brought up all the way back in 1976, when a study was conducted on pigs using the additive. Consumption of the ingredient was linked to heart, kidney, liver, and testicle damage in the pigs.

Similar to what happened with California's recent ban of four potentially hazardous food additives, a list that included brominated vegetable oil, many major brands have already started to phase the ingredient out of their products. Both PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Company announced in 2014 that they would be removing BVO from all their products, reports CNN.

However, many other store brand sodas still use the additive, and until recently, MTN DEW still contained BVO. In fact, grocery stores such as H-E-B still list BVO as one of the ingredients in MTN DEW, but the brand's own website does not. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, lists MTN DEW and generic brands like H-E-B's Orange Burst Pure Cane Sugar Soda and Walmart's Great Value Mountain Lightning Soda (Citrus) as still containing BVO.

Although the FDA is shifting its stance on BVO, the ingredient isn't considered immediately life-threatening. CNN's Wellness medical expert, Dr. Leana Wen, noted that how much and how often the ingredient is consumed is what matters.

"If someone drinks one soda at a barbecue that happens to contain BVO, that's not a big deal," explained Wen. "However, if someone is drinking a soda a day, every day, they should be careful and check out the ingredients."