Beware of decorative "cake design" dust
Whether in a cookery class or at home, the practice of "cake design", or the art of creating and decorating cakes with sugar paste, dust, colourings, etc., is growing more popular in France. To add a metallic visual touch to cakes, artists use various types of decorative products including gold, silver or copper decorative "lustre" dust. However, its use is not without risk.
Poison control centres warn about gold metallic dust used in cake design
In 2021, French poison control centres (CAPs) reported three cases of accidental inhalation of the same brand of decorative dust. The individuals involved rapidly developed a cough, breathing difficulties and fever. In particular, one child was taken to the hospital emergency department after inhaling the gold metallic dust being handled by his mother.
Confusing labelling for consumers
The labelling on this dust's packaging stated that it was "non-toxic" as it was edible , but it still caused respiratory problems after accidental inhalation.
Furthermore, decorative dust that is inedible (as it is intended to be applied to cake stands, for example) is sold in packaging similar to that of edible dust. Although the labelling mentions that the product is inedible, this is not always very visible, and the similarity of the packaging can be confusing and lead consumers to ingest inedible metallic dust, with the risk of heavy metal poisoning.
Take care when handling this dust
ANSES's recommendations to avoid poisoning:
- Check whether this decorative dust is edible before buying it or using it on your cakes
- Whether or not it is edible, this dust is highly volatile and should be used in a well-ventilated room
- Keep it out of the reach of children