Lead, copper and other heavy metals have been found in cake decorating dust. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this was discovered after several children fell ill after birthday parties.
The CDC report investigated two separate incidents in 2018 and 2019 involving “shiny dust” that is often used to decorating cakes and chocolates. In 2019, a one-year-old child had high blood lead levels.
This metal contains materials that are particularly dangerous for children, because it affects the development of the brain and nervous system. It was later discovered that the little boy’s first birthday cake was decorated with a chandelier.
In the second incident, six children between the ages of one and 11 fell ill after attending a birthday party. They had known vomiting and diarrhea and a child was taken to the emergency room. Again, it was found that the children had eaten frosting made from these decorative cake dust.
Analysis of the chandelier dust on the cake revealed that it was not at all edible or non-toxic, it was actually fine copper powder, imported from a manufacturer who initially sold it with the intention of using it as a metallic pigment for products such as floor coverings.
According to the CDC, decorating food with luster dust and similar products is a current trend, popularized in TV shows, instructional videos, blogs, and magazine articles.
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.
The report concludes:
The use of luster dust in homemade and commercially prepared products is a popular trend; However, not all glitter is created equal. While some glitter and dust is edible and food safe, many others are not.