The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study on “shiny dust” from cake decorating associated with toxic metal poisonings.
Decorating food with shiny dust and similar products is a current trend, popularized in TV shows, instructional videos, blogs, and magazine articles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Luster dusts that are safe for consumption are usually marked “edible” on the label. However, some luster dusts used as cake decorations are not edible or food grade. These are labeled as “non-toxic” or “for decorative purposes only”. These luster dust are intended to be eliminated before consumption.
The CDC suggests that explicit labeling indicating that inedible products are not safe for human consumption is necessary to prevent illnesses due to the inappropriate use of inedible products on foods.
During the 2018-2019 period, the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Missouri Department of Health and Elderly Services investigated heavy metal poisoning associated with commercially and home-made cakes in the United States. using shiny dust, which contained high levels of copper, lead and other metals. .
The reports dealt with children who fell ill after consuming a birthday cake. The Rhode Island cases were associated with copper ingestion, and the Missouri case was associated with high blood lead levels in a child.
In Rhode Island, luster dust products that had been used in cake icing were found to contain high levels of several metals.
Companies that manufacture edible luster dust are required by law to include a list of ingredients on the label.
According to the CDC, these events indicate that increased vigilance on the part of public health departments and additional advice to consumers and bakeries is needed to prevent unintentional poisonings. Educating consumers, commercial bakers and public health professionals about the potential dangers of items used in food preparation is essential for preventing illness and unintentional poisoning from toxic metals and other inedible ingredients, according to the ‘agency.
The full study can be viewed here.
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