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Edible Glitters – To Sprinkle or Not to Sprinkle?

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Non-toxic or edible? Make sure you know the difference
Non-toxic or edible? Make sure you know the difference

How to Give Your Cakes Sparkle without Breaking the Law

THERE has been much discussion surrounding the use of edible glitters ever since they were reclassified.

Forums dedicated to professional and amateur bakers alike are awash with people wondering what they can and can’t put on their cakes.

And despite many products now being labelled as non-edible but non-toxic some companies continue to label them safe to eat while others say no, leading to an awful lot of confusion about whether they can be used on foods or not.

The short answer is no. But things are never that simple!

In essence you can no longer put glitter that is classed as non-edible on anything that is going to be eaten. You can still put it on decorations that will be removed before the cake, cookie, cupcake etc is going to be eaten. For example, you might make a spray of wild flowers for a cake and put some glitter on them but those flowers would have to removed first before eating.

What you cannot do is sprinkle it directly onto fondant, buttercream and so on.

But I have never had any problems in the past I hear you cry! That may be true, I have indeed used glitter myself in days gone by and I have yet to hear of anyone having an adverse reaction to it. It may turn your poos…well that is a story for another day.

Seriously though, I recently saw someone compare it to the skin of sweetcorn which passes harmlessly through the body. Is it not the same thing? Actually, no. Sweetcorn is an organic substance which humans can happily eat. The outside is made of cellulose which we can’t digest but so is plenty of other vegetation we eat and does us no harm. Edible glitter, on the other hand, is made of inorganic substances, sometimes aluminium. All right it is present in very small amounts but you wouldn’t walk into a factory, pick up pile of metal shavings and start munching on them either would you?

So what can you do to give your cakes sparkle and stay within the law?

Unfortunately, I have yet to come across anything that completely matches up to the original glitters but there are some very good alternatives out there.

Magic Sparkles are a reasonable alternative though they are not quite as brilliant. They do however add a little bit os sparkle but they do dissolve with moisture so you have to be careful how you put them on _ i have very successfully applied them to cakes and cookies using a little bit of PME clear confectioner’s glaze first so they adhere to the surface.

Rainbow Dust edible glitters

Rainbow Dust also have an entirely edible range called the Starlight range which are a decent alternative.

You can also make your own. Lindy Smith has a great recipe on her blog which is easy to follow

And finally, I have just finished trialling some samples from India which have been pretty good, some colours brighter than others. So watch this space, I might be stocking them myself soon…

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