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Holiday bakers beware: Not all ‘edible’ glitter is actually edible

Bakers beware: Not all "edible" glitter is safe for consumption.

Beware inedible glitter this holiday season.
Beware inedible glitter this holiday season.Read moreiStock (custom credit) / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Before you douse your Christmas cookies or cupcakes with glitter or shimmer dust for a little extra holiday sparkle, make sure the products you’re using are actually edible.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday cautioned bakers against improperly labeled edible glitters and offered these tips for safe decorating:

  1. Check the label for a list of ingredients, which is required by law. Sugar, acacia (gum arabic), cornstarch and color additives approved for food use are all common ingredients.

  2. Look for the word “edible” on the label. Don’t assume a product labeled “non-toxic” is safe to eat. Crayons and school glue are also non-toxic.

  3. Remove any decorations that aren’t edible before eating -- or even serving -- your confections. 

Decorative glitters and shimmer dusts are all over our food these days, and as the trend has grown in popularity, so too have concerns about whether the products being used to add some pizzazz to pizza, bagels and even alcoholic beverages are safe to eat.

Eating a cupcake-dusting of non-edible glitter isn’t going to kill you, but it’s ill-advised for a reason -- it’s tiny bits of plastic.

But know that it can be hard to tell the difference between craft glitter and edible glitter, especially when shopping online.

Search “edible glitter” on Amazon and you can find this trifecta of gold, silver and white Techno Glitter, non-toxic and made in the United States. The listing includes a picture of glittery leaves on a cupcake. And satisfied customers have posted reviews with photos of cookies, strawberries and a child’s cake bedazzled with Techno Glitter.

Yet in small print in the product description: “These dusts are NOT FDA approved. They are NOT a food product and should not be considered as such.”