Doing a bit of checking for yesterday’s piece about silver dragées for confectionery purposes, I came across a couple of things I found interesting.
First of all, in America, at least some of the confectionery suppliers such as shopbakersnook still use the word dragée. (Well, ok, without the accent.) That particular site sells “dragees for cakes and cookies” in a variety of colours, including pink, blue and white. I can see that they might think “blue dragees” sounds better than “blue balls”.
The pink, white and blue varieties are available to ship across the States and internationally. However, the silver and gold ones are not. They cannot be shipped to California.
The reason behind this is a law suit. Well, it’s California, what did we expect?
It’s been alleged that the metallic finish on the dragées is toxic, though no one seems prepared to say how many of the things you’d have to eat to do yourself any harm. They are apparently sold in the States labelled, “for decoration only”.*
I looked more closely at the tub of “silver balls” in my mother’s kitchen and I didn’t like what I read on the label.
They are certainly sold as fit to eat, but it turns out that they contain pork gelatin, which is not something I fancy on my Christmas cake.
I also notice that they don’t contain any silver. Unlike the ones sold in America, they contain aluminium, which has long been associated with Alzheimer’s.** Even so, the UK Food Standards Agency doesn’t seem to be worried about them being non-edible.
I suspect that if I’d been brought up in the States, I’d be citing their equivalent of the Trade Descriptions Act and suing because I’d bought “silver balls” without any silver in them.
* Read more about the legal case agains dragees.
** Read more about the link between aluminium and Alzheimer’s, which appears to be mainly circumstantial, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.