The FDA Says People Probably Shouldn’t be Eating Glitter

The FDA Says People Probably Shouldn’t be Eating Glitter

Remember when glitter was fun to put in cards and letters? You probably loved it when your art teacher got out the glitter. I bet you never imagined a day when you’d be eating the stuff, but here we are, eating glittery iced cakes and confections. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) thinks people should probably stop doing that.

Here’s the thing about glitter: Just because you can eat it doesn’t mean you should. You have to be super cautious when you’re eating or baking with glitter because even some of the supposedly-edible products may contain stuff you shouldn’t be putting in your body, according to the agency.

In a consumer update posted online on December 14, the FDA said:

“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 also published a video showing a yummy, shimmering cake covered in non-edible glitter (as seen above).

This is not the first time that the FDA warned the public against eating glitter. They first issued a public service announcement (PSA) in 2016, then again in November of this year. Glitter on food seems to have become popular thanks to celebrity chefs and bakers, and restaurants adding glitter to their creations. [2]

If you have your heart set on decorating your own creations with glitter, make sure the label makes it clear that it is edible. Look for ingredients like sugar, acacia (gum arabic), maltodextrin, cornstarch, and color additives specifically approved for food. With a list like that, we hope glamming-up your food is the exception and not the norm.

FDA Database: 93% of Food Additives Aren’t Properly Studied

If you’re purchasing baked goods and not making them yourself, you should ask the baker or cake decorator what kind of glitter they’re using. The FDA noted that commercial bakers have a “responsibility as a food manufacturer to produce food that complies with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and applicable FDA regulations,” adding that “manufacturers of food containing unsafe ingredients are potentially subject to FDA enforcement actions to keep unsafe products out of the marketplace.”

The FDA didn’t explain what, apart from glittery poop, could happen if you eat non-edible glitter.


[1] Thrillest

[2] Gizmodo

Featured image source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration / Youtube