Hi everyone and thanks in advance for your always appreciated advice. I have never used dragees, but was about to order some when I read in a Taste of Home cook book that they ARE NOT edible, despite the fact that they had them all over the cookies they had baked as well as all over the top of the cupcake icing. I am a little confused. Can anyone help?
As far as I know they are not FDA approved to be consumed, nonetheless we all have eaten them at some point and lived to tell. They are approved in other countries, which tells me there is nothing wrong in eating them; in limited quantities anyways. Good luck!
The inner part of the dragee is an edible confectionary material, but the outer metallic coating is not. It is usually silver, which is considered non-toxic, but not edible. You should always check the ingredients list to be sure there are no toxic materials. Once, years ago, I picked up a bottle of dragees and there was MERCURY in the ingredients! That would clearly not be safe to use at all, and probably illegal these days.
Anyway, for the regular silver dragees, I used them and we eat them, but it's so rare we use them, not like something you'd eat every day. If I used them on something for someones else, I always make it clear that they are not considered to be edible and should be removed before eating, gotta CYA! Personally, I think you are more at risk of chipping a tooth because some of them are really hard, than having any ill-effects of the silver.
Yes you can eat them. The reason that are listed as non edible is because they have actual metal (silver I believe). In moderation, they are fine. But it is a personal choice.
I would make sure if you were going to sell anything with them on them, I would make sure that the clients know that the facts.
The owner of my cake supplier told me that in the US they were only not FDA approved b/c someone in CA broke a tooth on one...I'm not sure if that's the truth but they are approved for eating in other countries. I've tried them, no harm here, but b/c of the label, I do not offer them as an edible product to clients.
My husband and I were just talking about this yesterday. We do have a bottle of dragees, and I just let my daughter put them on some cookies we made. We don't eat them however. Just pick it off the cookie. They're so pretty!
They most likely are not going to hurt anybody in small quantities. I think the warning is there so people don't eat them in large amounts on a regular basis.
Yes, the coating is silver. Silver is a heavy metal, and once ingested, it stays in your body and can build up over time. There are other ways that we get silver in our bodies, from meds or the environment. Some people intentionally ingest silver to treat illnesses. They are consuming large amounts and after a time, they can develop a condition called argyria, in which the skin turns a bluish-gray. This is permanent.
From what I have read, the medical community is unsure how much silver needs to be ingested to cause this. Some people worry that if kids eat a lot of dragees frequently, it will cause problems as adults, due to the build-up.
So basically, it's a judgement call if you want to eat these, unless you live in California, where it is illegal to sell them I believe.
Thanks so much everyone. I'm glad I asked!