It’s highly likely that whilst indulging in sweets this holiday season, you’ll bite into a sparkling cookie, wondering all the while if the shiny, bead-like sprinkles you’re crunching on are actually safe to eat.
The truth is, these widely used silver sprinkles have been troubling to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for years, the Huffington Post reported on December 8th.
Their official name is “silver dragées” and they started causing trouble back in 1906 when the FDA banned mineral substances as food additives, which prohibited silver from confectionary use. By the late 1970’s, the rise in popularity of the shiny metal coated pellets led the FDA to declare that the silver dragées should ONLY be used for decoration and NOT to be served as a food item due to the metal coating.
“When small silver balls known as ‘silver dragées’ are sold exclusively for decorating cakes and are used under conditions which preclude their consumption as confectionery, they are not considered to be in the category of a food or confectionery,” they wrote of the “unsafe” color additive.
Though silver remains banned as an edible additive, however, silver dragées are sold in 49 states. California is the only state that they cannot be purchased, as a result of a 2003 lawsuit declaring the silver decorations to be harmful when ingested.
If your holiday baking plans include decorating with elegant silver dragées, there’s no reason to fear. The Baker’s Kitchen confirms that they are fine to use as decoration but should be removed before ingesting.
As an added precautionary measure, try decorating your annual holiday treats with icing or gumdrops rather than using the silver sprinkles all together.
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