Good afternoon everyone. Some time back I was part of a discussion concerning the safety of using Contact paper to cover cake boards. I had a question about it because I wasn't sure that vinyl was safe to place the cakes directly on. Anyway, I decided to go to the source and ask the question. I told everyone that I would get back with them to let them know what the reply was. I did contact the Kittrich Corp. who manufactures the Contact paper. I asked about the safety of using it in this manner. I explained that it was clear contact paper that I was referring to and this is the response that I recieved.
Contact Paper is made of PVC VYNIL. We do not recommend this to be used in Direct contact with food. I do have other customers that are doing the same thing with our paper, and although we have not received any complaints in regards to this type of use, we still must give you caution.
Have a Great Day!
Customer Service Dept.
I thought it best to just start a new thread with this information so that more people could see it. This way we can all make an educated decision whether we should use the contact paper to cover our boards.
My opinion is that they MUST say that for liability reasons. People cover their shelves with it and then place their dishes and glasses on it. The glasses are often placed upside down in direct contact to the covering. People then put their mouth to those glasses. How long does the cake stuff on the paper? Not that often.
I'm not too worried about it personally.
I know someone who received a violation from the health department for putting cakes on boards covered with contact paper.
The only way she was able to continue to use the contact paper was to put a barrier between the contact paper and the cake. The health inspector said that if the cake touched the contact paper it was considered a health hazard because it is not food safe.
Hmmm interesting. Of course, I've never used contact paper. Now I'm wondering if shrink wrap is hazardous as well.
This may sound stupid, but what if you put your cake on a cardboard and then on the cakeboard covered? I never used contact before but I was gonna try it on my next cake. And somehow I agree with KarenOR.
If the shrink wrap is labeled as food-safe, it shouldn't be a problem. The problem with non-food-safe plastics and vinyls is that substances can leach from the plastic/vinyl into the food, particularly if the food is moist. (I would think that a dry glass rim wouldn't be as risky as, say, a moist cake with buttercream.)
In the grand scheme of things, is it likely to be a huge health hazard? Probably not, but everyone has their own level of comfort. (And we all make decisions regarding what and how many risks we are willing to take. My MIL thinks nothing of eating food that has been out for 5 or 6 hours, for example.)
Maybe it isnt concidered food safe, but I think it would be unlikely that a person would be affected by it.
The butter/oils from the cakes can extract chemicals from the contact paper, causing potential poison for whomever is sensitive. Plates, utensils don't have these oily properties to extract anything from the contact paper, therefore is safe to use. If you own a bakery and use contact paper, this could be a liability for you as well. There is a reason why certain items are not "food safe". Better to be safe than sorry. Use caution, CCer's. I'm a chemist.
I always use a cake board between the cake and the contact paper.
If you use a cake board between the cake and contact paper, do you tape the bottom of the board to prevent sliding/slippage?
Is that a concern?
Yes I use double sided tape so it won't slip. Good question...
I put all of my cakes on a piece of foam core the same size as the cake tier and then use double sided carpet tape to sitck it to the clear contac paper covered decorative board. Works like a charm.
It's best to rethink using any household plastics for food applications, including kitty litter pans and scoops, vinyl sheeting, film canisters, paint buckets (new, clean), vinyl tablecloths, contact paper, etc. Google "toxic plastic" if you wonder why you wouldn't want food on non-food grade plastics.
Food grade plastics are made from a specific list of plastics approved by the FDA... Plastics containers that are not food grade may leach plasticizers into food on contact. Due to the nature of plastics, they have a high affinity for fats.... Contact to foods that are high in fat may cause leaching of the original oil-based substance into the food even if the plastic was originally food grade. ...Also, don't brine (or store) foods in containers that are not intended for food preparation - such as a "clean/brand new" mop bucket, plastic trash bag, or trash can....
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requires that plastics used in food packaging be of greater purity than plastics used for non-food packaging. This is commonly referred to as food grade plastic... Another aspect of food grade plastic is matching the appropriate type of plastic to the food in question. Foods that are highly acidic or that contain alcohol or fats can leach plastic additives from the packaging or container into the food. As a result, you should only use plastic containers that are FDA approved for the particular type of food the plastic will come into contact with. ...If you are considering the purchase of a container from some place other than a kitchen or restaurant supply store, and the container is not clearly labeled as "food safe" or being made of food grade plastic, then you should assume that it is not food grade...
All kinds of plastic are commonly used in storing food, but not all plastics are created equal when it comes to safe food storage. For food to be safe when stored, it is important that the right plastics are used. Some questionable chemicals can migrate from some plastic packaging to the foods they are storing. To keep food safe, it is important to learn which plastics are safest for food storage.
If you use food-grade plastic containers according to the manufacturer's recommendations and with the recommended class of food ingredients, they should be safe. The manufacturer is regulated on safety. If you use non-food grade plastics for food, major risks may occur....
I also have email contacts from American Chemistry and The Vinyl Insitute stating that "downstream" vinyl products are not food safe unless specified - please PM me if you would like that information.
wow swampwitch! you did some impressive research!
i've always just used saran wrap around the decorative cakeboards. its cheap and its already in my house. just tape the edges underneath down real good.
Very cool of you guys to post...I thought it was o.k. to use contact paper and plastic table cloths...glad I've been using platters or parchment lately...thanks!
Thanks for all the good info.
I also heard teflon is carcinogenic, so ditch your non stick pans, and that the gold/silver used in dragees and metallic paint stays in your system forever and slowly poisons you. *sigh* even eating cake is no longer safe!
This is really good to know. I've only used clear contact paper once because I was out of fanci-foil to cover a cake board.
I also ditched all my teflon cookware, except for one grill pan that I haven't replacced yet. I just can't stand the thought of that stuff flaking off into my food. My vet even has a message on his telephone hold recording that says the fumes from teflon cooking are lethal to birds. I don't have birds but that was even more reason to get rid of them.
Thank you so much SwampWitch for all of the hard work that you put into this subject. You have really opened my eyes to the dangers of using certain plastics in cake decorating that are not labeled food safe. Thanks again for sharing this very important information with all of us.
Thanks for all the details SwampWitch and everyone. I used the stuff twice, I am happy to know this information now and I will no longer do this.
This debate raises it's ugly head about every 2 months here on CC. Feel free to use the search feature and find responses by myself and others to the same concerns.
It's all the same re-hash of fear-inducing Green Peace rehtoric railing against vinyl versus others coming in to say that they use common sense when using vinyl and will continue to it without fear.
Doesn't it really come down to the fact that we're all trying to come up with a good, inexpensive, food safe way of making an attractive, coordinated, decorative cake board that doesn't need to be handled with special care, provides a secure landing pad for a cake, and doesn't need to be returned to us?
Sadly, ready-made choices for the above are few. Aluminum foil and saran are easily cut and can leave bits in cake slices--they're also slippery and fairly flimsy. Cellophane is also very slippery. Fanci Foil and printed contac paper can contain lead (worries me a lot more than vinyl). Paper alone can have lead in it and it gets grease spots. Wilton makes a food safe paper in gold and silver, but that doesn't always meet the requirement for the cake. Fondant can be expensive and needs to be applied early and sometimes pampered after application. Royal icing is finicky, needs drying time, and can crack if stressed too much. And, let's face it, plain cake cardboards just don't cut it.
My solution to this is to always use an underboard under every cake (cut the same size as the cake tier) so that the cake never touches the decorative board--no matter what is covering it. If a bottom border is particularly wide, I cut a piece of parchment a bit wider than the bottom tier and adhere that with carpet tape to the contac paper and then adhere the tier to that.
In the long run, you can use the contac paper as long as the cake doesn't touch it. It's not that hard to insure "safety" in this case.