You've probably seen some Christmas cookies decorated in those "silver ball" sprinkles. Rumors have been going around that they're dangerous to eat, but is there any truth behind them?

Well, here's what you need to know...

The Huffington Post says the Food and Drug Administration has created guidelines for these "silver balls," called silver dragees, since the early 1900s. According to the Huffington Post,

...silver is still banned as an edible additive, and silver dragées are sold in 49 states “for decoration only.”

Those are the key words, "for decoration only." Those silver balls sprinkled on your Christmas cookies aren't supposed to be used for eating, but just to make the cookies (and other holiday treats) look festive.

So how dangerous are they?

Nothing to panic over. Actually, The Huffington Post says, silver can be found in very small doses in a lot of our food, and even our water. The only problem from eating/drinking too much silver is you may turn a blue-ish, gray color. No seriously, if you're exposed to too much silver, you can really permanently change color. But we're talking about a strict diet of foods with silver in them (or medication) and for years and years, and even then, it may not happen.

So why is it a big deal?

Probably because the Food and Drug Administration says it's not a food. If it's not a food, you shouldn't eat it, right? But if you do eat it, it's not going to kill you. And it's nothing to worry over. I mean, we're not supposed to eat paper, but sometimes it gets stuck to a piece of gum or that candy bar we're in a hurry to eat. Just sayin,' it's not the end of the world.

So what about other silver sprinkles and silver-colored products?

Well, if you're the one doing the baking, just check the label on the silver decorations you buy. Make sure it says "edible" and nothing like "for decoration only." If you're handed a cookie or holiday treat and you're not sure if the silver sprinkles are edible, just scrape them off.

If you're picking up a tray of cookies from say, Hannaford, and there are silver sprinkles or decorations, ask those working in the bakery section. They're sure to have an answer for you.

Silver Sprinkles and Decorations From Walmart
Naomi Lynn/TSM

Besides, how many things do you ingest on a regular basis that say it's "not approved by the FDA"? Did you know vitamins are a "dietary supplement," which means the FDA doesn't have to review them? And I still take a daily vitamin.

If you're still a little uneasy about ingesting those sprinkles, just skip them. Don't put them on your holiday cookies, and brush them off any cookies you get.




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