All that glitters cannot be eaten

The Food Standards Agency has released a warning over glitter and other decorative elements used on baked products. It is advising both food businesses and consumers to avoid using products that are marked non-toxic or for ‘food contact’, as they may be unsuitable for consumption.

As the cup-cake comeback continues the demand for food products that are decorated with glitters and dust is also increasing. Decorative designs are increasingly elaborate and imaginative, but that has also resulted in the use of products with ambiguous labelling.

Although there have been no reported cases of illness in cases where such products have been used, there has been insufficient testing to establish whether they are indeed safe for human consumption. If in doubt, check the labelling and make sure that it clearly states that the glitter is safe to eat and complies with EU rules on food additives.

It is always a good idea for anyone producing food for sale to the public to undergo adequate and appropriate food safety training. Decorative additions should form part of any description of the product, particularly if they contain E numbers or are not labelled ‘safe to eat’.