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Robert Loginov
Robert Loginov

Silver Dragees Where To Buy

Our Metallic Sprinkle Mixes contain silver and/or gold dragee pieces which are sugar coated in a non-toxic silver & gold food color. These colors have been approved for consumption in the EU & Canada, but have not yet be evaluated by the USA FDA. For this reason they are labeled "For Decorative Use Only." Cake decorators all over the world have been using and eating dragees for decades. Please use this information to make your own determination on the edibility of metallic dragees.

silver dragees where to buy


The sparkling balls, formally known as silver dragées, have been causing quite the stir in the baking world for over 100 years. While it's technically legal to sell silver dragées in most states across the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration does not recommend ingesting them. In fact, all brands selling them must label the sprinkles as "for decoration only" and the baking baubles cannot be labeled as edible, according to The Huffington Post.

It was back in 1906 that the Food and Drug Administration outlawed all metallic food ingredients, including these shiny balls. But even today, the scientific research regarding their safety is still a bit blurry. While there's no evidence proving these sprinkles are poisonous or harmful when eaten in reasonable amounts, silver has been proven to be dangerous when consumed in large quantities. And in 1970, the FDA published a statement warning consumers that dragées could make your skin appear a blue-gray color if you ate too many. Yikes!

Now, you can only find silver dragées in stores and online labeled as decorations-unless you live in California, where they're illegal. The state banned them in 2003 after one customer sued an in-state cake decorator for selling baked goods adorned with dragées, claiming they posed a threat to children oblivious to the potential dangers.

We are a leading provider of quality sugar flowers, icing decorations, dragees, nonpareils, sprinkles, confetti, edible glitter, and much more. Our mission is to empower confectioners to elevate their creations.

CLARIFICATION: This story stated that stores such as Sur La Table were selling off their last remaining stocks of silver dragees, a pastry decoration. Sur La Table states that it originally removed the dragees from its stores in April 2003. Immediately after The Chronicle found in December that its Hanukkah decorations contained the dragees, it removed them as well, the retailer says.

Procrastinators are in for a shock when they set out to make those last-minute holiday cookies, cakes and gingerbread houses. Store shelves are almost bare of the beloved, tooth-crunching decorations called dragees -- better known as "those little silver balls."

Because of a Napa lawyer's lawsuit alleging that the shimmery mini-orbs are toxic, stores such as Spun Sugar are selling off their last remaining stocks, and wholesalers and Internet suppliers simply won't sell sugar decorations filmed with silver, gold or copper to anyone in California.

"I think it's a catastrophe. I think Christmas is going to have to come to an end. How can we decorate cookies without those silver balls?" said Emily Luchetti, pastry chef at the Union Square restaurant Farallon.

But Napa lawyer Mark Pollock takes silver dragees very seriously. He started suing to force dragees off the California market when he was a Solano County prosecutor in the early 1990s, and got the spice giant McCormick to stop selling them in the state. Now an environmental lawyer in private practice, he sprang back into action last spring when dragees surged back into vogue after Martha Stewart used them on holiday cookies.

Pollock sued Stewart, gourmet food purveyor Dean and DeLuca, India Tree and about two dozen other distributors and retailers. As of Monday, Pollock said all but one had settled, agreeing to stop selling silver cake decorations in California, and the last was about to sign. Settlement amounts are confidential.

Pollock says his motivation wasn't that someone had been hurt by eating dragees -- he doesn't know that anyone has. But he says dragees have the potential to put consumers, especially children, at risk because silver is a toxic metal that can build up in the body over time and cause problems.

"Silver is a subtle poison," he said, comparing it to mercury in fish. "Eating dragees unnecessarily increases your body burden of this chemical. If children start off with heavy doses in Christmas cookies, they start out behind in the race."

While federal and state authorities list silver as toxic at certain levels -- for instance, for silver miners who breathe strong concentrations daily -- the Food and Drug Administration has dealt with dragees by declaring them non-edible and requiring jars to carry labels saying "for decoration only."

Distributors and retailers said they've settled with Pollock not because they believe their dragees are toxic but because a trial would cost far more than settling. But, like Beryl Loveland of Beryl's Cake Decorating and Pastry Supplies of Virginia, they're angry and think a trial would have proven that there's nothing wrong with a few dragees now and then.

At Spun Sugar, a candy- and cake-making specialty store in Berkeley, owner Linda Moreno is selling off the few sizes and shapes of the metallic decorations she has left, and says she can't get any more -- although she has no trouble getting the silver and gold leaf used in Indian sweets.

Other bakers and baking supply shop owners were so leery of getting sued themselves that they spoke only on condition that their identities not be revealed. One baker said she's always brought back suitcases of dragees from France, and she won't stop. But she makes her customers sign a waiver that they understand they are for decorative purposes only.

"When small silver balls known as 'silver dragées' are sold exclusively for decorating cakes and are used under conditions which preclude their consumption as confectionery, they are not considered to be in the category of a food or confectionery," the FDA wrote of the "unsafe" color additive online.

Dear Nigella and Team! I have seen you using gold and silver tiny tiny non-pareils or dragees. You have featured them in How To Be A Domestic Goddess while making Christmas tree decorations. My parents are soon having a wedding anniversary. My sisters and I would like to impress them with a cake and to make a pattern on the cake we need those tiny tiny sugar dragees. I have looked everywhere and I could not find them. Please let me know where I could buy them online as I do not live in the UK at the moment. Best regards, Kelly

The silver decorations are often referred to as "silver balls" in the UK but are more commonly known as "silver dragees" and sometimes as cashous. They come in a variety of sizes but the small ones are usually 2mm diameter. We are not sure which country you are in but you could try a local wedding store as they are often popular decorations for wedding cakes. You can also find them at Jane Asher's website and Squire's Kitchen (see below) - both offer international delivery.

There is some debate on whether or not these little decorations are edible or not. While the inside is made of a hard sugar pearl, the outside coating is made of silver. Many have been eating them on their holiday cookies for years without realizing that the outside coating has real metal in it. The FDA considers the dragées to be inedible and should be for decorative use only. Although the dragées may look enticing, they are labeled as decoration only and should be removed before eating.

i was fixing to order some dragees for an upcoming cake and saw on alot of sites that dragees are not consumable?? what?? is that just the fda or is ok to put on my cakes?? cus they are on cake decorating stores sites and im soooo confused?? i dont want to make anyone sick

I had to call a supplier one time about some glitter that was "non-toxic". I could not believe a large distributor of cake making/decorating supplies would sell stuff that isn't FDA approved "edible", but they do!!! To get to your question... I was told in that very same phone conversation that dragees are NOT considered edible. However, I think it has more to do with the fact that they are so hard and could possibly cause damage when chomped on or could pose a choking hazard, not that they are "poisenous" or taste awful.

I think most americans over 30 grew up eating them. They were a staple on christmas cookies and I remember occasionally getting into my mom's stash to munch on a few. I can't even imagine how many of the silver or gold one's you'd have to eat to actually get sick from them. CA has banned them entirely but then my padlock has a cancer warning on it for CA. That said, yes, they are considerd non-toxic and for decor only, not eating. I won't turn my nose up at them if they show up on a cake or cookie. Mmmm... crunchy, sweet, silvery goodness...

Silver dragees (and the silver almonds) are actually made with real silver. Trace amounts, but silver none the less. Silver is not edible. They are actually banned in California, and most internet distributors won't even ship them here. I just found out my local cake store has some for sale, but they have to order them from France and tell you they are only to be used on non-edible products like gumpaste (which is also not considered edible, I think. Neither is luster dust. Non toxic, yes).

I guess check specifics with your competitions, but I think you might be taking this a little too literal. Luster dust, gumpaste, dragees are manufactured to be used on edible products, they are not considered edible themselves but they are non-toxic for consumption. We all use them (well, except the dragees in CA) regularly.But again, check with whatever competition you are trying to enter on what is allowed and what is not. It's up to them, really. 041b061a72


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