Guidance launched on edible glitters and dusts

The Food Standards Agency has developed guidance on edible and non-toxic glitters and dusts. This will help food businesses and consumers to safely use glitters and dusts with food.

The Agency is aware that non-edible cake decorating materials, described as dusts or glitters, are being marketed in ways that could be misleading. These include products only labelled as ‘non-toxic’, without stating they are not to be consumed.

As a general rule:

  • Only glitter or dust clearly labelled as ‘edible’ should be applied to food for consumption. Dusts or glitters that are edible will be made of permitted additives (such as mica and titanium dioxide) and must comply with the requirements of EU food additives legislation.
  • Edible glitter or dust must be labelled with the name or E-number of any additives used and should carry either the statement ‘For food', ‘Restricted use in food' or a more specific reference to their intended food use (for example ‘Edible lustre’).
  • ‘Non-toxic’ and inedible glitters that have been tested and meet the requirements of the legislation on food contact materials and articles can be applied to food for decoration, but they cannot be applied to food for consumption. They should be labelled ‘For food contact’ (or alternative wording to show they are not to be eaten) and include instructions for use.
  • Other ‘non-toxic’ glitters and dusts that have not been tested to see if their constituent chemicals migrate into food at levels above legal limits, do not meet the requirements of the legislation on food contact materials and articles. They are not labelled ‘For Food Contact’ (or similar wording to indicate their use) and should not come into contact with food.

Consumers who are unsure if a ‘non-toxic’ glitter or dust is safe for use in contact with food should contact the glitter or dust supplier. Glitter manufacturers have to provide suppliers with a ‘declaration of compliance’ to show the product(s) meet the requirements of legislation for food contact materials and articles.

The FSA is contacting local authorities to help them clarify how glitters and dusts, intended for consumption or decoration, can be used.

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