The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is advising consumers to be aware that some decorative glitters and powders promoted for use in food decorating may, in fact, contain non-edible or toxic ingredients.
Many decorative glitters and metallic powders are sold over the Internet and in craft and bakery supply stores under names such as luster dust, disco dust, twinkle dust, sparkle dust, highlighter, shimmer powder, pearl dust, and petal dust. A variety of instructional videos, articles, and other online resources promote the use of these products to decorate foods such as cakes and cookies.
There are edible glitters and powders available that are produced specifically for use in food decorating. These products are made from ingredients that may be safely eaten. Similar products, intended for decorative use only, may contain metals or other ingredients that can cause serious illness.
Advice to Bakers: Be aware that not all products marketed for use by chefs and bakers are safe to eat. To determine what’s edible and what’s non-edible:
- Carefully check the label of any decorative product you’re considering for use in foods. Manufacturers of edible products are required by law to list ingredients on the label.
- Most edible decorative products clearly state “edible” on the label. If the label says “for decorative purposes only” or does not include an ingredients list, you should not use the product in foods. “Non-toxic” does not mean edible.
- Decorations that are not edible should always be removed from food before serving.
- If purchasing products on the Internet that will be used to decorate food, request ingredient information from the manufacturer before you make any purchases.
All bakers who sell their product are responsible as a food manufacturer to produce food that complies with applicable FDA regulations and state and local laws. Manufacturers of food containing unsafe ingredients are potentially subject to FDA and MDA enforcement actions to keep unsafe products out of the marketplace.
Advice to Consumers: If you are purchasing baked goods, talk to your baker about the types of decorative products used in their baked goods and ask if they are made with all edible ingredients. Ask to see the labels of the decorative products to ensure they are edible.
If you have specific questions about the regulatory status of ingredients in glitter and dust used in food decorating, contact the FDA Office of Food Additive Safety at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Margaret Hart, MDA Communications