The Surprising Reason Mountain Dew Is Banned In Other Countries

The chartreuse beverage, Mountain Dew, may be one of your favorite sodas. Although this soda was originally created as a mixer to accompany bourbon, this lemon-lime drink is often enjoyed on its own. Commercials and advertisements are usually marketed toward young people, who may get excited by taking risks. Commercials often highlight people participating in extreme sports, such as skateboarding, mountain biking, or climbing mountains, and then enjoying a refreshing can or bottle of Mountain Dew. 

The marketing may help sell Mountain Dew, but like any soda, it's anything but healthy. In fact, Mountain Dew is known to have higher levels of caffeine than other sodas. A 12-ounce can of Mountain Dew has 54 milligrams of caffeine, while a 12-ounce Coca-Cola has 34 milligrams and a can of Pepsi is 38 milligrams, per the Center for Science in the Public Interest. In the United States, Mountain Dew is easy to find at grocery stores and gas stations, but Mountain Dew isn't available in some countries.

Mountain Dew contains a controversial ingredient

Some of the ingredients in Mountain Dew should raise eyebrows but are surprisingly permitted in the United States. Yet, each country has different regulations and rules regarding what chemical ingredients and quantities are allowed. If you're visiting Japan or any of the 27 countries that make up the European Union (via gov.uk), you won't find Mountain Dew on any grocery store shelves because the recipe contains an ingredient that is banned in these countries, according to Stacker. Mountain Dew contains brominated vegetable oil or BVO, which has bromine, a naturally occurring element that is often used for flame retardants, per Stacker. 

Mountain Dew contains BVO for its emulsion properties (via Stacker). "Bromine works by directly irritating the skin, mucous membranes, and tissues," according to the CDC. As if this wasn't sufficient cause for alarm, "bromine can build up in the body and potentially lead to memory loss, as well as skin and nerve problems," per Stacker.

If you drink Mountain Dew occasionally, there may not be any cause for concern, but you may want to think twice about why this ingredient is still used when there are health issues related to it. The fact that many countries deem it an unfit ingredient to be sold to customers seems to speak volumes that BVO likely shouldn't be in a soda.