November 16, 2019

Did You Know Some Decorative Glitter and Dust Are Unsafe to Eat?

During the holiday season, many people use decorations on food to add interest and to reflect a celebratory mood. Unicorn cakes and cakes based on dolls and popular products can be decorated with items including decorative glitter and dust. But did you know that some of those decorative products are unsafe to eat? Some decorative glitters and dusts should not be eaten.

Decorative Glitters and Dust May be Unsafe

Many of these products are sold over the internet and also in bakery supply and craft stores. They are sold under the names luster dust, disco dust, twinkle dust, highlighter, sparkle dust, shimmer powder, pearl dust, and petal dust. And many online videos and blogs promote the use of these products.

Some glitters and dusts are edible and are made for use on foods. You can distinguish edible decorations from non-edible.

Check the label of any decorative glitter and dust product  you may buy. The companies that make these products are required by law to include a list of ingredients on the label.

Common ingredients that are edible include sugar, acacia (gum arabic), maltodextrin (a type of sugar), cornstarch, and color additives that are approved for food use. Mica-based pearlescent pigments and FD&C colors are safe to eat. Most of these edible products will state “edible” on the label. If the label says “non-toxic” or “for decorative purposes only,” and doesn’t have an ingredient list, don’t eat it.

If you are going to use non edible decorations, remove them before you serve the food.

It’s important that, if you are ordering a decorated cake or cupcakes, you talk to the baker about the products used. Are they made with all edible ingredients? If the baker isn’t sure, ask to see the labels of the products they use. All commercial bakers have a responsibility to produce food that complies with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and FDA regulations.

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