Why you shouldn't eat those silver balls on biscuits and cakes

Those silver balls found on biscuits and cakes could be dangerous for you [Photo: Getty]
Those silver balls found on biscuits and cakes could be dangerous for you [Photo: Getty]

When Christmas comes around, the semi-pro bakers come out. And you know what that means? Lots and lots of cake decorations.

But there’s one thing you should steer well clear of when baking or buying cakes, biscuits and more this festive season.

Those pesky silver balls.

Officially known as silver dragees, the balls have been deemed not safe for human consumption by the FDA – despite being marketed as edible. The US organisation says that they may be used for decoration only and should be marked as so in any store.

Silver balls should be used for decoration only, say the FDA [Photo: Getty]
Silver balls should be used for decoration only, say the FDA [Photo: Getty]

“When small silver balls known as ‘silver dragees’ are sold exclusively for decorating cakes and are used under conditions preclude their consumption as confectionery, they are not considered to be in the category of a food or confectionery,” read the guidelines.

“There is no authority under the colour additive regulations which permits silver to be used as a colour. Neither is there a food additive regulation (or exemption) authorising silver as a food coating.”

While silver isn’t likely to kill you in small amounts, it can turn your skin and body tissue a strange grey hue. Most, however, will be digested through the large intestines in about a week.

This warning doesn’t necessarily apply to all kinds of silver sprinkles either. Some are made with a different kind of food colouring that is safe to be eaten.

So just watch out. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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