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Milagai

Question about French Dragees

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I was looking for the little silver and gold cake decorating

balls that were so common when I was a child.

Finally found some in an upscale gourmet store.

A product from www.indiatree.com that's called

"French Dragees".

But when I got home, the small print says "for decoration only"

i.e. they're not edible? :blink:

No ingredient list on the web site or on the bottle.

Can someone give me any idea what these might

be made of, are they really dangerous to eat?

Or is it some obscure import-related law

(like mustard oil is labeled for external use only

but it's fairly safe to use for cooking.....)

Thanks in advance

Milagai

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Hi Milagai,

Ah, so the edible diyas project is going forward after all :). Here's what google turned up

"Dragees are to be used as "decoration only" because, per the FDA, they contain trace amounts of metal (ie: silver). They are, however, considered non toxic. Although people do consume them in some parts of the world, we recommend you remove them before eating confections."

Hope this helps.

-w@w

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Milagai,

There was also this thread on silver dragees last year. IMO, they're being labeled that way now to prevent another "potential injury" lawsuit. I've eaten them before, and I wouldn't worry about eating them in the small quantities they're used for decoration.

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Can someone give me any idea what these might

be made of, are they really dangerous to eat?

They are composed of sugar, cornstarch, gelatin, and trace amounts of silver.

Are they dangerous to eat? Well, when I last looked into this last, I couldn't find a single documented instance of anyone ever experiencing any adverse health effect whatsoever after occasionally consuming doses of silver comparable to those in a serving of dragees, which is on the order of a few tenths of milligram/serving. If you eat large amounts of silver, you can develop a condition called generalized argyria, in which the skin turns grey-blue. In the case of a small dose, it can be hardly noticable; in the case of large dose, you can look like a ghoulish smurf. The smallest doses which cause generalized argyria are reported to be between 4-40g. But assuming you pigged out on cookies with dragees, and consumed maybe 1mg silver, you'd still be getting only 1/4,000 of the lowest dose reported to cause argyria.

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Also, it may be worth pointing out that the EPA reference dose* is 5mcg/kg/day, which is to say that EPA believes that a person can consume 5 micrograms of silver, per kg of bodyweight, per day, for a lifetime, with no adverse effects. So, a 70kg adult could supposedly consume 350 micrograms/day. 350 micrograms is a good rough estimate for the amount of silver in a "dose" of dragees.

*EPA defines a reference dose as an estimate, with uncertainty spanning perhaps an order of magnitude, of a daily oral exposure to the human population (including sensitive subgroups) that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects during a lifetime.

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Oy, excellent!

Thanks for all the answers.

It's really funny that the trace amounts of silver are what's

making these things be labeled "for decoration only"

because per Indian sweets rules, pure silver foil (vark)

is layered onto the sweets to look decorative and

eating trace amounts of silver is supposed to enhance

health!

So we'll decorate and eat.

Yes, worm, it's the diyas project, hopefully this weekend

or one day next week. We're aiming for Kartikai

(the next full moon night, I think).

Milagai

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