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Guidance reminder for glitter and dust

20 May 2014

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been reminding the food sector on the legal requirements surrounding the use of dust and glitter for food decoration. 

This reminder follows the successful prosecution of EdAble Art by West Yorkshire Trading Standards for breaching 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 prosecuted by Durham Trading Standards for similar offences under food safety legislation.

Any glitter or dust intended for consumption must be composed of permitted European Union (EU) additives or colours. Typically this will include permitted additives - such as mica and titanium dioxide -  mixed with food ingredients such as sugar or starch. It must comply with the requirements of EU food additives legislation, Regulation 1333/2008 and must be  labelled with both the name and E-number of the additive; and the statement ‘for food’ or ‘restricted use in food’, or a more specific reference to their intended food use, for example ‘edible lustre’. 

The FSA also highlighted the fact that labels describing glitter and dusts as ‘non-toxic’ does not necessarily mean the products are safe to consume and that  ‘FDA approved’ does not necessarily mean that the product complies with EU legislation.

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 that  it does not fall onto the food, and it should be clear that the non-food items should be removed from the food before consumption.

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