Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Glittergate!

I love my cake glitter. When I first started my business I pretty much bought a pot of it in every colour! If it stays still in my house, I'll cover it in glitter.

Until late last year that is. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have issued guidance about the use of 'edible' glitters and have decided that the way these products are packaged might lead consumers to think they are safe to be consumed - when they are not.

Now, as someone who has purchased glitters labelled as 'edible' or 'non toxic' (and coupled with the fact they are sold widely in cake decorating shops) I am aghast to think I might have been misusing a product! But alas, the guidance is clear and all of my lovely cake glitters have been stashed away with my sons art supplies ready for the next school project...

Interestingly I note that there are still cakes on sale drenched in this glitter, and I suspect that it won't be long before a food safe version is on the market, so the question is how will the consumer know what they're eating is safe? I've produced one cake that had a topper coated in glitter but I had to give the client strict instructions about removing it before eating and get signed off consent - far too much worry on my part, pass my the lustre spray instead!

So what are your thoughts on this debate? Most bakers I know have chosen to ditch the glitters all together whilst some only use it on items that can be removed from cakes. Both decisions are right, which makes it all the more confusing!

5 comments:

  1. I think the new regulation is silly - the glitters are non-toxic and pass right through, so what's the harm? I think they should be classed as edible and companies should be allowed to use them as such, legally. That said, we aren't, and I'm not using them anymore.

    However, as far as I can tell, all of my competitors still are. Was speaking to one in particular - a real PITA - who was dissing another competitor left and right for using glitter (it's tacky, etc), and I said, knowing she uses it herself, "FSA says it isn't allowed to be used any more in the way he and YOU are using it anyway..." She stammered and said she only uses a tiny bit. A look at her pics shows that to be a total lie. Anyway! Point being loads of companies are going to continue to use them as if they're edible with the assumption they won't get caught, and chances are they probably won't. We know many EHOs pay little mind to us small bakeries as we're "low risk" so they'll either not even be aware these other companies are using them unless someone in the know tells them or will look the other way if they do know. Annoying!

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  2. All valid points Sarah - there's even a cake magazine coming out this month which gives away a free pot of cake glitter so who knows! I think the point about being caught is tricky though as the FSA do have an incident report form and 90% of the time bakeries are reported by their competitors for non compliances so I wouldn't want to take the risk! Can't WAIT to get my hands on 'safe' glitter :)

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  3. I'm devastated! A sprinkle of glitter really finished off some cakes, it's such a shame. And i've gotta say, a real overreaction on the part of the FSA. We've been using edible glitters for years, has anybody ever seen a report of anybody getting ill after eating glitter on a cake?? And the amount a customer would consume would be so tiny, I find it hard to believe it's that dangerous.

    But I will comply and my cakes will be glitter free *sob*

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  4. Sob indeed! I have to say I really think the EHO's should step in an d contact registered bakers as unless you're online how else would you know about this change in regulation??

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  5. Great point, Liana. I doubt many/most? companies know they should really be registered with the FSA and that they have regulations we must legally adhered to, no matter what the EHOs say. Local councils should inform companies and update them when changes like this are made. FSA should have an email update option, allowing you to select which things are relevant to you and that you want to receive updates about. There are definitely things I'd probably not be aware of without the Flickr boards. But as they say ignorance is no excuse.

    I didn't know about the incident report form. What do you think they'd say about this guy: www.Facebook.com/thesugarroom.info?? ;p

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