Today I want to talk a little bit about a topic that’s really hot right now in the cake world- edible gold dusts.
There’s a lot of incorrect info out there about this.
And it can be rather confusing.
So I hope to clarify a few things. My goal is that each decorator knows what is and is not allowed to be consumed, and what can be used for decorative purposes only.
Non toxic vs edible:
Non toxic means just that; it won’t hurt if it touches the cake but it is not intended to be eaten.
There are many many petal, luster and highlighter dusts that are non toxic, but aren’t food grade nor considered edible. These can be used to color flowers and other decorations that will be removed from the cake before serving.
Non toxic dusts are not to be used to cover an entire cake, cookie, or any other part of the cake that will be consumed.
Edible / Food Grade / FDA Approved:
This is where it gets a little confusing.
The most important thing to know and remember is that what is deemed as food safe is determined by the government of each individual country.
Seeing a product advertised as “edible” does not mean it is FDA approved in the USA (and vice versa.)
Countries such as Australia, United Kingdom, and the USA all have different guidelines as to what ingredients are considered safe to eat ie “edible”.
You may be purchasing a dust that was manufactured in another country, or is being sold online by an overseas based vendor.
If the product is approved for eating in that country, you may see the description say “food safe”, “100% edible” or something similar.
But that does not mean it is edible or approved in your country of residence.
You may see the term “EU approved”. This means that dust is approved as food safe for Europe. That does not mean it is edible in the USA.
The FDA is the one and only food regulatory agency for the USA.
If an item does not say “FDA APPROVED” , it is not considered an edible product in the USA, and may not be used in a manner in which it will be consumed.
The bottom line?
You can’t assume a dust is food safe in your country just because the website you are shopping on says it is “edible”.
If you live in the USA, you must see “FDA approved edible” to use it in edible applications.
If in Europe, look for “EU approved.”
Canada: look for “approved by Health Canada.”
So what about gold?
There is no edible metallic gold highlighter dust on the market for the USA at this time.
There are FDA approved luster dusts, but no gold metallic dusts.
They may not be used in an edible application on cakes or cookies. They can be used on items that will be taken off before serving and not ingested.
Please don’t rely solely on what you see listed on a website as “edible” or “food safe”.
Frequently asked questions:
- What’s the difference between a metallic dust (highlighter) and a luster dust?
- Do I have a list of FDA approved dusts?
I’ll answer both to the best of my ability:
1) A luster dust is a shimmery, pearlescent dust. It has a mostly translucent look when mixed with alcohol and used as a paint. (You can get good coverage if the paint is thick enough or more than one coat applied.) But it still remains more of a shimmer look, as opposed to…..
A metallic dust (also known as a highlighter dust), which gives an opaque, metallic reflective look. This looks the most like a true metal (shiny gold, silver.)
luster = shimmer
highlighter = metallic
2) Below is a list of edible dusts as far as I know**:
— FDA approved petal and luster dusts food safe in the USA:
Chef Alan’s Hybrid Dusts
Roxy & Rich
The Sugar Art
— Dust brands that have some colors* approved in other countries:
Sugarflair – EU, AUS and Canada
Rainbow Dusts – UK, Canada
Rolkem – EU and Canada
— Metallic golds that are non toxic but NOT edible in the USA:
Rolkem (approved in EU and Canada)
Ideale / Albert Uster
*NOTE #1: within any one brand there may be some individual colors that are approved and others that are not, depending upon the ingredients. Always check each and every color to be sure.
Note #2: Some retailers buy in bulk and relabel as their own product. They may be advertised as “edible”, but if you cannot see a list of ingredients in order to check for yourself, then you must assume it’s not an edible dust.
**Disclaimer: Don’t take my word as gospel truth. I pass along what I can to the best of my knowledge. But regulations and ingredients are always changing. As I mentioned, you’ll need to do your own research to be sure each specific dust is approved for consumption in your country of residence.
These lists are intended only to be a starting point for you to further investigate and ensure the food safety of the dusts you use.
I hope this clears things up a bit. Drop me a note if you have any questions.
To safe decorating,
Visit my online school: www.sugaredproductions.com
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