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HomeUSA NewsCake decorating dust linked to heavy metal poisoning in children, CDC warns

Cake decorating dust linked to heavy metal poisoning in children, CDC warns

Cake decorating dust linked to heavy metal poisoning in children, CDC warns.

NEW YORK (AP) – They make cakes and cupcakes sparkle and shine, but popular decorative glitters can contain toxic metals and aren’t always safe to eat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report Thursday that products are known as “luster powder” are not intended to be consumed, even if they are labeled “non-toxic.” Some should be used for display only, such as on a removable cake topper.

The report cites research by health officials in two states that traced illnesses to baked goods that used such powders.

Rhode Island health officials investigated a 2018 report of six children who became ill after a birthday party, with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea that were consistent with heavy metal poisoning. They all ate a bakery cake with a thick layer of frosting mixed with a “gold dust.”

Tests on a leftover slice of the cake showed it to contain copper, as did the tests on the powder used by the bakery. The report notes that the powder was marked as “inedible,” “non-toxic,” and “for decoration only.”

State health officials found widespread use of inedible luster powder in other bakeries. Brenda lee Viveiros, a food safety expert for the Rhode Island health department and a co-author of the CDC report, said the state-issued guidance on using luster powder for businesses.

In 2019, the report also notes that Missouri health officials identified a “primrose petal powder” used to decorate a cake as a lead hazard while investigating elevated lead levels in a 1-year-old child. A bright yellow decorating jar had been used in the boy’s house to create flowers for the birthday cake. Laboratory tests of the dust, which was labeled “non-toxic,” indicated that the sample was 25% lead.

An audience advisory The Food and Drug Administration also warns of the potential dangers of eating decorative glitters. It says that bakers should check the labels of decorative products used in food, which should have a list of ingredients. If the label only says the product is “non-toxic” or “for decorative purposes only” and does not have an ingredient list, the agency said it should not be used in food.

The agency noted that glitters can be sold under names that include disco dust, glitter dust, glitter dust, and petal dust.

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