Are All Food Colours Edible?

The simple answer to that question, and that might surprise you, is no. Food colouring products are divided in two “edible” and “non toxic”. And to add even more confusion, every country has their own standards on what is called “edible” and what is called “non toxic”. So what might be edible in America, might not be edible in Australia.

Edible food colours are 100% all your plain colours with no shimmer on them. Doesn’t matter in which form the food colour comes in, as long as it’s traditional non shimmery colour, it’s always edible. The only exception can be, some of the fluoro colours, that are classified as “non toxic” as well, due to

Now when we start talking about metallic food colours, dusts, paints, glitters and so on, that’s where it gets confusing. Just by looking at the products, there is no way to tell, which one is edible and which one is not. It all comes down to how much lustre particles are in the product. So in theory, the more glittery and shimmery the food colour is, the more likely it is that it’s in the non toxic category. But sometimes you can compare two products that look exactly the same, and actually one is on category and the other is in the other.

There is also difference between glitter and metallic colours. Glitter is basically exactly what it says. It has very large and glittery particles in it, that are not poisonous, but they are not digestible either, so they are just passing your body when eaten. Most of the glitters are labelled as “non toxic”.

Metallic food colours on the other hand, have much smaller lustre parts in it, and their category depends on the percentage of the lustre that they have in them.

So whenever you buy your food colours, just check the packaging, as it needs to be clearly marked, in which category the product will fall in.