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Are petal and metallic dusts really safe?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I was at a cake show recently and one of the vendors mentioned that most petal dusts are considered non-toxic but are not really to be consumed.  Same for pearl and metallic dusts.  I was just watching Joshua John Russell's Modern Piping course on Craftsy and he said to only use metallics sparingly as they do contain metals and could poison someone.  He said that they should not be used to cover a whole cake.

 

I see lots of cakes on here that have entire tiers pearlized, lots of gold and silver on cakes, etc.  I'm wondering, do you warn people?

 

I have only used dust sparingly in the past for accents, but I'm a little freaked out now and don't want to use them at all!  I was planning on making some pearl-accented cookies, but now I'm thinking twice about it!

 

Thanks!

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post #2 of 18

 See the thread on "Disco Dust."

 

There are edible glitters that somehow achieve a metallic luster without actual metal particles, but metal filings are definitely not "Good Eats," even in the case of the small handful of metals that are completely bio-inert (e.g., pure gold).

 

As to "petal dusts," are we talking about ground-up dried flowers? I should think that would depend on (1) whether the flowers are edible to begin with (oleander, Easter lily, and cala lily would definitely fail that test), and (2) whether they were raised in a pesticide-free environment.

James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

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James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

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post #3 of 18

I, myself would not eat any cake with metallic looking sprinkles. I know a lot of bakeries use this and have seen this on cakes.  I would not want to eat any cakes with this stuff on it. I have read an article about this stuff being poisonous. I will not take any chances.

 

Most of our food and other products are now made in China.  We know that China is famous for using lead paint. I am sure this metallic sprinkles are probably made in China.   China could poison all of our food if they wanted to and we would never know what hit us.  When America let our companies move overseas to China and where ever else I think they made a big mistake.  Just my opinion!!!
 

post #4 of 18

This sums it up pretty well:

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2214456/All-glitters-edible-Trading-standards-officers-issue-warning-cake-decorations-fit-human-consumption.html

 

Petal dust and luster dust are ground up chalk, and disco dust is small bits of plastic.

 

Not everyone uses this stuff - I use Crystal Colors for my dusts which are FDA approved food colors.  I use platinum dust, which is FDA approved for use on food.  If I need an overall sheen I use airbrush colors, which are obviously approved for use on food.  You can also use edible gold and silver leaf, which is also safe to use on food (but very expensive).  I have used disco and other dusts, but only on bits that I know will not be eaten.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
So airbrush colors are completely safe? Can you paint with them? I will order the white pearl color and use that instead of those awful dusts (which I just threw out even though some were new and unopened).

I am a hobbyist and had no idea that things sold for cake decorating are not actually edible! I'm just relieved that I have used them so sparingly on details that weren't eaten as opposed to painting a whole tier or something.
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post #6 of 18

Yes you can paint with them.  There are several different brands, I'd check with the individual manufacturer's website to make sure they are approved for food use and not just a non-toxic paint.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
I am looking at Americolor and they list them as 'Edible paint'. I will email them to ask if they are FDA approved.
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post #8 of 18

Let us know what they say!

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just called them directly and they said that yes, all of their colors, even metallics, are FDA approved! Yay!
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post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
And totally edible, I might add.
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post #11 of 18

Thanks for checking! I know this whole Disco Dust thing is suddenly a concern... one of my local suppliers even stopped carrying it because they themselves just learned that they're not technically edible. I have a small container of Disco glitter... guess I'll be throwing it away, even though I love the sparkly effect it creates. icon_sad.gif

post #12 of 18

Chef Rubber sells silver and gold. For their silver spray, this is the description:  "Pure silver foil, ethanol, butane and propane. Use to add a finishing touch of silver to any dish."

 

Does the butane and propane refer to how it comes out of the can? It is labeled as Edible...but this sounded weird to me. Any thoughts?

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
I believe those two ingredients are propellants.
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post #14 of 18

Just because something is FDA approved doesn't mean that it's okay to chug it. I wouldn't worry about this too much in the case of petals and luster dusts because people would be eating such a small amount of it. The larger concern would be inhaling it when you're decorating the cake. I've started noticing that when I dust a lot of flowers I have a cough afterward, so I do everything with dusts outside, and I wear mask when I airbrush things. I've written about "baker's lung" on my blog before, and inhaling particles of flour etc isn't too hot either.

 

I like the crystal colors too, they're a little more expensive but they go a long way and the colors you get are better.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
I agree that FDA approval doesn't mean that it should be consumed in large quantities, but at least you know that you are not decorating with ground up plastic, kwim?

I'm a hobbyist so I don't spend a ton of time decorating, but bakery's lung sounds downright scary. It makes sense that one's lungs could be negatively affected by inhaling flour and powdered sugar repeatedly.
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