Sanitizing Cake Additions...

Decorating By salsaman42 Updated 31 Mar 2009 , 4:39pm by Ruth0209

salsaman42 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 12:32am
post #1 of 18

Does anyone worry about bacteria on ribbon and silk flowers used on cakes? How could they be sanitized?

17 replies
timhenk Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:19am
post #2 of 18

The only inedible items I use in my cakes are the dowels to support the tiers. I think it's safer that way, then you don't have to worry about your question, or someone eating a silk flower. I know it sounds stupid, but you've seen the news stories about people suing because they spilled hot coffee on themselves, etc... Some people will do it just to have a reason to sue you. I'd rather not take the risk. Maybe I'm paranoid...

all4cake Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:36am
post #3 of 18

I do worry about those things. I've only used ribbon once on a cake and that's because the btb couldn't be swayed into a fondant band instead of ribbon. I attached a waxed paper strip around the cake first then attached the ribbon. I did everything I could ...told them about the chemicals and yes, some have pesticides on them to deter bugs during warehousing and whatnot. I won't do another with real ribbon.

I have read where some decorators place silk flowers in straws, flower tubes, or even wrap them before inserting into the cake.

As for actually sanitizing the stuff...I have no idea.

Wing-Ding Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:38am
post #4 of 18

Good question, but I have to agree with Timhenk. Dowels are the one of the only inedible items items I use, but I've used 18g wire for decorations. There, I sanitized them with bleach and hot water and dried them before I put them in the cakes. I know you cannot use bleach with ribbon and silk flowers without destroying them. You don't to use a leave-on sanitizer either, especially if there's contact with the cake. I guess my suggestions would be to use hot water that's above 110 F and dry them.

ClassyMommy Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 5:41am
post #5 of 18

This is a very good question! When I see cakes with real ribbon on them I cringe! I just think about all of the dust, germs, etc. that could get on that spool of ribbon in the store. I don't think that I could do it! One thing that I know, is that there have been several pictures on here of cakes that I thought had fake flowers on them, but after reading some of the comments, I have realized that they were actually made out of gumpaste! I was shocked quite a few times.

cakeandpartygirl Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 6:00am
post #6 of 18

Sounds like an item to market???? What do you think?

mclaren Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 8:48am
post #7 of 18

i've never used either, but like all4cake, if i ever had to use a satin ribbon or whatsoever around my cake, i would first tape a wax or parchment paper underneath before placing the ribbon on the cake.
i worry about these kind of things.

salsaman42 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 10:45am
post #8 of 18

Just had a thought, if you ironed the ribbon with steam, that would sanitize, would'nt it? And maybe for the silk flowers one of those appliances that use steam to remove wrinkles from clothes?

all4cake Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 2:17pm
post #9 of 18

I suppose it would salsaman42. I reckon I was more concerned with the chemicals used to process those items. I should've paid closer attention to the OP...sorry.

Charmed Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 2:38pm
post #10 of 18

I have seen these UV sanitizers and maybe they could be used in sanitizing the ribbons or the dowels or etc....what do you think?

kakeladi Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 2:39pm
post #11 of 18

To be honest I never gave it a thought.
The use of bleach water should not harm the color.....because the solution is so weak ...... only like 5% bleach to water to would not bleach it.
Also at places like Smart N Final or GFS you can get a 'food surface sanitizer' - it's a pink liquid that you delute w/water (like a teaspoon per qt) and spray it on; let dry. This is (probably) what you see being sprayed (or cloth wrong out in) to wipe tables in fast food resturants etc.

mlharvell Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 2:43pm
post #12 of 18

Why wouldn't using vodka work?

-K8memphis Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 2:57pm
post #13 of 18

I think about it all the time. I once found thee most perfect trim for my cake. Per-fect, but...

So I called my son who was fresh out of sanitation class at culinary school to talk me off the ledge because the trim was made of feathers. I wanted someone to talk me out of it because I knew in my heart of hearts it was unsanitary. So I called the right person. I did not use it and drew my line tighter that day.

Long ago I started using real lace trim around my cakes in lieu of tuk-n-ruffle. Figured I was real uptown with that. icon_biggrin.gif So the fabric store has much to offer to enhance a cake. And I usually wash and dry whatever I procur depending on where it's being used.

I mean if we use a silver plateau, it probably has silver polish/cleaner stuff on it which is not food safe so you gotta use your head about it too.

Because look at our cardboard circles we use incessantly--those just come in a box and are not particularly kept protected by any means. Sure you can wipe them off with a bleach water dipped towel--so does any of that bleach get in the food? Wonder what's lurking down one of those little brown tunnels??? Foam core starts looking better & better.

So you gotta use your best judgement.

Some safety thoughts for you.

want2bcupcakequeen Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 3:13pm
post #14 of 18

Do you sanitize the wooden dowels before using them?

sweetcakes Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 3:46pm
post #15 of 18

do you all wear gloves while doing all your cake prep and decorating too?

jlh Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 3:59pm
post #16 of 18

On the topic of chemicals. I think we'd all be absolutely shocked at the pesticides, chemical fertilizers, weed killers, etc. used in the parks and school grounds that our kids play on every day. Our environment is full of chemicals. As long as we use our best judgement and feel comfortable with our final product, that's the best we can do.

all4cake Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:38pm
post #17 of 18

You're absolutely right. But they're not supposed to be used in/on items that come in contact with products meant for human/animal consumption. I'm not saying the ribbons and artificial flowers shouldn't have that stuff used on it...I'm saying they're not intended for use on cakes and special precautions should be taken to keep them from direct contact.

I don't mean any disrespect, I think the best we can do goes beyond feeling comfortable about our final product and using our best judgement. The best we can do is to know everything we can about what goes in and on our products and not just feel comfortable but being confident.

Ruth0209 Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 4:39pm
post #18 of 18

I just think some peoples' concerns about germs (which I think are largely fueled by companies marketing their cleaning products) are way over the top. I don't sanitize my dowels. I buy food safe dowels, take them out of the package and use them. And I don't wipe down my cardboard cake rounds with Clorox.

We are surrounded by zillions and zillions of harmless bacteria. Our bodies actually need certain types of bacteria to be healthy. Good heavens, a speck of dust on a ribbon is not going to hurt anybody. You're just as likely to have specks of dust on a sandwich you make at home and leave on the counter while you turn around to get a glass of milk. Personally, I'd rather eat a little dust than traces of Clorox. If a little dust hurt us, the human race would've died off thousands of years ago. Now, formaldahyde or toxic dye in a ribbon is a whole different story.

I think you absolutely need to use normal caution and good sense, and I think it's our job to worry about it so the consumer doesn't have to. If something isn't sold as a food item, you need to ask yourself what it's made of, and if any of that would leach into your food and make someone sick, not taste good, or discolor the cake. If you're unsure, don't use it or add a barrier (like one of those nice, clean Clorox washed cake rounds, or wax paper or something).

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