The Food Standards Agency in the UK has issued guidance on the legal requirements on dusts and glitters for food decoration.
This follows after EdAble Art by West Yorkshire Trading Standards was prosecuted on March 10, 2014 for food safety legislation by selling cake glitter which was not of the nature demanded and for supplying a non-approved food additive.
The company was also successfully prosecuted by Durham Trading Standards on April 17, 2014 for similar offences under food safety legislation.
The guidance applies to food that is prepared at home and to commercially made products.
The guidance states that permitted additives by the European Union (EU) should be clearly labelled on food packaging.
They should be labelled with both the name and E-number of the additive, and statement ‘for food’ or ‘restricted use in food’, or a more specific reference to their intended food use (for example ‘edible lustre’).
The authority states that labels describing glitter and dusts as ‘non-toxic’ does not necessarily mean the products are safe to consume.
In addition, glitters and dusts claimed as ‘FDA approved’ does not necessarily mean they comply with EU legislation.
The guidance states that glitters composed of materials that have been safety-approved for contact with food can be applied to removable non-food items, such as artificial flowers, figurine and candle holders which are placed on food for decoration, provided they meet the requirements of food contact materials legislation (European Regulation 1935/2004).
They should be labelled ‘For food contact’ (or alternative wording to indicate their use) and include instructions for use which should include an indication that they should not be consumed.
The glitter on these products should be fixed so it does not fall onto the food, and it should be clear that the non-food items should be removed entirely from the food before consumption.
Other glitters and dusts that are not EU-permitted additives, or which do not meet the requirements of food contact materials legislation, should not be used on any food or on any edible or non-edible items that come into contact with food.