Decorating a cake with glitter? Check that it’s edible | National News

Decorating a cake with glitter? Check that it's edible

FILE – In this Feb. 8, 2005 file photo, a candy shop owner applies gold luster sugar dust to chocolate-dipped strawberries the family’s business in Lebanon, Pa. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021 says luster dusts that are safe to eat are typically marked as edible, but that others might contain heavy metals and shouldn’t be used on food.

NEW YORK (AP) — They make cakes and cupcakes sparkle and shine, but popular decorative glitters can contain toxic metals and aren’t always safe to eat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report Thursday that the products known as “luster dust” aren’t all meant to be eaten even if they’re labeled “nontoxic.” Some should be used for display only, like on a cake topper that’s removed.

The report cites investigations by health officials in two states that traced illnesses to baked goods using such dusts.

Rhode Island health officials investigated a report in 2018 of six children becoming sick after a birthday party, with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea that were consistent with heavy metal poisoning. They all ate a bakery cake with a thick layer of frosting mixed with a “gold dust.”

Testing of a leftover slice of the cake showed it contained copper, as did tests on dust used by the bakery. The report notes the dust was marked as “nonedible,” “nontoxic” and “for decoration only.”

State health officials found widespread use of nonedible luster dust at other bakeries. Brendalee Viveiros, a food safety expert with the Rhode Island health department and co-author of the CDC report, said the state issued guidance on the use of luster dust to businesses.

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