Thursday, January 13, 2011

Putting photos on cookies and cakes

Found these neat cookies on one of my blogs and followed the link to the Bridget the baker at her "Bake at 350" blog. She uses edible inks and paper on an inkjet printer.

So what the heck are edible inks and how does they work?

Well, if you want to know what the ingredients are of anything involving chemicals there is probably an MSDS for it. MSDS stands for Material Safety Data Sheet and is US government mandated for any chemical products produced or sold in the United States. It is a way that purchasers, suppliers and their employees will know what is in the products and be able to handle it safely and dispose of it appropriately.  You can usually google  "productname  MSDS" and something will pop up if it is easily available. Even stuff that is basically harmless will have an MSDS (try: "maple syrup MSDS")

So I searched for the MSDS for edible inks and found the ingredient list for Candymark edible inks
FD& C Yellow No.5 (21 CFR 74.705)
FD& C Red No.3 (21 CFR 74.303)
FD& C Blue No.1 (21 CFR 74.101)
FD& C Red No.40 (21 CFR 74.340)
Deionized Water* (No 21 CFR references exist for water)
Propylene Glycol* (21 CFR 184.1666)
Ethyl Alcohol* (21 CFR 184.1293)
*Volatile components that could remain present in small quantities after printing, depending on the absorptivity of the food product and the drying mechanisms used once the inks have been applied.
Since edible inks are made up of a number of chemicals, you would have to search for an MSDS for each one since the MSDS's are usually for a chemical not a mixture.  Here is a link to the MSDS for FD&C Yellow no. 5:

Section 3: Hazards Identification
Potential Acute Health Effects: Very hazardous in case of inhalation. Hazardous in case of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion.
Potential Chronic Health Effects:
Very hazardous in case of inhalation. Hazardous in case of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion. CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. TERATOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY: Not available.
Section 4: First Aid Measures
Eye Contact:
Check for and remove any contact lenses. Immediately flush eyes with running water for at least 15 minutes, keeping eyelids open. Cold water may be used. Do not use an eye ointment. Seek medical attention.
Skin Contact: No known effect on skin contact, rinse with water for a few minutes.

Note that the dangers may seem exaggerated in some cases but that the warning is for the purest form and often in bulk.  A tiny bit of food colouring (which is already diluted in water) is not going to hurt you or else there would be greater warnings on the packaging as well.

The numbers in brackets are Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) references that cover these chemicals. The regulations determine how much of these chemicals are allowed in food in the United States.

(a) Identity.
  1. The color additive FD&C Yellow No. 5 is principally the trisodium salt of 4,5-dihydro-5-oxo-1-(4-sulfophenyl)-4-[4-sulfophenyl-azo]-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxylic acid (CAS Reg. No. 1934210). To manufacture the additive, 4-amino-benzenesulfonic acid is diazotized using hydrochloric acid and sodium nitrite. The diazo compound is coupled with 4,5-dihydro-5-oxo-1-(4-sulfophenyl)-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxylic acid or with the methyl ester, the ethyl ester, or a salt of this carboxylic acid. The resulting dye is purified and isolated as the sodium salt.
  2. Color additive mixtures for food use made with FD&C Yellow No. 5 may contain only those diluents that are suitable and that are listed in part 73 of this chapter as safe for use in color additive mixtures for coloring foods.

(b) Specifications. FD&C Yellow No. 5 shall conform to the following specifications and shall be free from impurities other than those named to the extent that such other impurities may be avoided by good manufacturing practice: Sum of volatile matter at 135 C (275 F) and chlorides and sulfates (calculated as sodium salts), not more than 13 percent.
  • Water-insoluble matter, not more than 0.2 percent.
  • 4,4-[4,5-Dihydro-5-oxo-4-[(4-sulfophenyl)hydrazono]-1H-pyrazol-1,3-diyl]bis[benzenesulfonic acid], trisodium salt, not more than 1 percent.
  • 4-[(4,5-Disulfo[1,1-biphenyl]-2-yl)hydrazono]-4,5-dihydro-5-oxo-1-(4-sulfophenyl)-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxylic acid, tetrasodium salt, not more than 1 percent.
  • Ethyl or methyl 4,5-dihydro-5-oxo-1-(4-sulfophenyl)-4-[(4-sulfophenyl)hydrazono]-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxylate, disodium salt, not more than 1 percent.
  • Sum of 4,5-dihydro-5-oxo-1-phenyl-4-[(4-sulfophenyl)azo]-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxylic acid, disodium salt, and 4,5-dihydro-5-oxo-4-(phenylazo)-1-(4-sulfophenyl)-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxylic acid, disodium salt, not more than 0.5 percent.
  • 4-Aminobenzenesulfonic acid, sodium salt, not more than 0.2 percent.
  • 4,5-Dihydro-5-oxo-1-(4-sulfophenyl)-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxylic acid, disodium salt, not more than 0.2 percent.
  • Ethyl or methyl 4,5-dihydro-5-oxo-1-(4-sulfophenyl)-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxylate, sodium salt, not more than 0.1 percent.
  • 4,4-(1-Triazene-1,3-diyl)bis[benzenesulfonic acid], disodium salt, not more than 0.05 percent.
  • 4-Aminoazobenzene, not more than 75 parts per billion.
  • 4-Aminobiphenyl, not more than 5 parts per billion.
  • Aniline, not more than 100 parts per billion.
  • Azobenzene, not more than 40 parts per billion.
  • Benzidine, not more than 1 part per billion.
  • 1,3-Diphenyltriazene, not more than 40 parts per billion.
  • Lead (as Pb), not more than 10 parts per million.
  • Arsenic (as As), not more than 3 parts per million

All of the info I found above is freely available on the internet. So if you are interested or suspicious about what you are cooking with or eating - do some browsing!

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