Glitter not always so good says FDA

This holiday season, the Food and Drug Administration has issued an important, somehow not obvious piece of advice to the public: Please don’t eat or use glitter in your baked goods unless it’s clearly labeled as edible.

Ed Cara of Gizmodo writes the FDA’s advice came courtesy of a consumer update sent out Friday morning. The update featured a short video showcasing an admittedly delicious-looking cake covered in non-edible glitter.

“FDA wants you to be aware that some decorative glitters and dusts promoted for use on foods may, in fact, contain materials that should not be eaten,” the agency said. “But consumers need to be aware that these materials may contain materials that should not be eaten.”

Amazingly, it’s not the first time the FDA has felt obligated to step in and tell people to put down the forkful of glitter. In November, the agency sent out a warning about the trend, which itself was an update to a similar warning released in 2016. The origin of the mess seems to be tied to a trend in recent years of celebrity bakers, cooking shows, and restaurants using decorative glitter on their cakes and other treats.

Luckily for those hoping to reenact their preschool days, there are lots of sparkly products that are perfectly safe to eat. According to the agency, these usually spell out on their labels that they are edible, or contain ingredients like sugar, acacia (gum arabic), maltodextrin, cornstarch, and color additives specifically approved for food use. Glitters with no list of ingredients or with labels that only say they’re “non-toxic” or “decorative” probably aren’t the kind for eating. Don’t eat those ones.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time