Georgia Department of Agriculture

GDA Cautions Consumers & Bakers to Avoid Non-Edible Food Decorative Products


Georgia Department of Agriculture
Gary W. Black, Commissioner
19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW
Atlanta, GA 30334

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Press Release
Wednesday, November 04, 2020
Office of Communications

GDA Cautions Consumers & Bakers to Avoid Non-Edible Food Decorative Products

Atlanta, GA - The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) urges Georgia consumers and bakers to use caution when purchasing or baking food products that contain non-edible and toxic decorative glitters and dusts. Alternatively, consumers and bakers should check labeling to ensure food decorative products are produced for safe consumption.

During the holiday season the use of non-edible decorative glitters and dusts, used as an ingredient for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, candies, and other confectionery products, grow in popularity. Consumers and bakers are encouraged to review packaging labels for non-edible descriptors. These include, but are not limited to: luster dust, disco dust, twinkle dust, sparkle dust, highlighter, shimmer powder, pearl dust, or petal dust. The decorative products come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes, but mostly in shades of gold or silver. Such products are available online, in craft supply stores, and retail grocery stores. Several of the products, intended for decorative use only, may contain non-edible ingredients that can cause serious harm if ingested.

"Labeling of ingredients can sometimes be confusing, especially when we think about decorating a cake and using an item labeled 'for decoration only,'" said Natalie Adan, food safety division director at the GDA. "However, if a luster dust product is not explicitly labeled 'edible,' the results can be dangerous, especially to young children or the elderly. Non-edible decorative products may contain heavy metals and other non-food grade ingredients that are not safe, even in very small amounts."

Advice to Consumers:

  • If purchasing baked goods, ask your baker about the types of decorative products used in the baked goods and if the ingredients are edible.
  • Don't be shy! Ask to see the labels of the decorative products to ensure the product is specifically labeled "edible."


Advice to Commercial Bakers: Be aware that products marketed for use by chefs and bakers are not all safe to eat. To determine what's edible and what's non-edible: 

  • Carefully check the label of any decorative product you're considering for use in foods.
  • Most edible decorative products clearly state "edible" on the label and manufacturers of edible products are required by law to list ingredients on the label.
  • If the label says "for decorative purposes only" or there is no ingredients list, you should NOT use the product in foods.
  • Decorations that are not edible should always be removed from food before serving.
  • If purchasing products on the Internet that will be used to decorate food, request ingredient information from the manufacturer before purchasing


Georgia bakeries selling directly to consumers, as well as food manufacturers, are responsible for producing safe food that complies with applicable state and local laws, as well as U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, where appropriate. Manufacturers of any foods containing unsafe ingredients may be subject to GDA or FDA enforcement actions to keep unsafe products out of Georgia's marketplace.

If you have specific questions about ingredients in non-edible decorative glitters or dusts used in food decorating, please contact the FDA Office of Food Additive Safety at




About the GDA The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is the voice of the state's agriculture community. The department's mission is to provide excellence in services and regulatory functions, to protect and promote agriculture and consumer interests, and to ensure an abundance of safe food and fiber for Georgia, America, and the world by using state-of-the-art technology and a professional workforce. For more information, visit

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