While the colorful sparkles may look enticing, perhaps even appetizing to some, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about eating edible glitter. Glitter goes by different names, such as luster dust, disco dust, twinkle dust, sparkle dust, highlighter, shimmer powder, pearl dust and petal dust. Regardless of the name any of these types of glittery could be risky for consumers.
The statement warns consumers that the glittery stuff used to add a celebratory decorative finishing touch to cakes, cookies and other sweet confections may actually be harmful for people when eaten. The warning came just days before Valentine’s Day when an enormous amount of chocolates, cupcakes and other sweet treats, often decorated with so-called edible glitter to up the festive factor - are about to be purchased and given as gifts from one significant other to another.
Some of the ingredients of edible glitter include familiar baking staples like sugar and corn syrup. However, farther down the ingredient list are other less familiar and potentially more potent chemicals such as color and flavor additives including mica-based pearlescent pigments and FD&C colors.
In order to make sure that the glitter topped treat you or your family is eating is actually safe to ingest, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends following some before taking that first bite. It is recommended that consumers check the packaging before eating any glitter. The presence of an ingredient list is important in and of itself because all edible decorations are required by law to state what ingredients they contain. If the list is missing, it is a good indication that the product is not edible.
Additionally, if the package states "for decorative purposes only" it is a clear warning that the product should not be eaten.
The thought of eating something that at best should not be eaten, and that at worst is toxic, is frightening. However, consumers are not completely helpless according to personal injury attorneys from Ankin Law Office LLC. In addition to following the FDA’s recommended safety measures, consumers can keep tabs on all the latest product recalls, including food recalls, by regularly checking the website of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a government agency that oversees products consumers use every day. The CPSC recalls over 400 items each year.
At the first sign that a product is defective, dangerous or contaminated both the manufacturer and the CPSC should be contacted and notified right away. Ideally this should occur before anyone is harmed by the product, but anyone who is hurt by a product should also report the incident immediately.