Microscopic thin foil of gold and silver are commonly used in confectionery products produced in South East Asian and Middle Eastern countries. Confectionery treats, most notably chocolates, can be found decorated with edible flakes of gold or silver.
New standards for food-grade gold and food-grade silver have been proposed.
According to the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), a non-profit food safety and standards organization, the purity of gold and silver foil used in food is especially important. In nature, gold and silver may mix with other metals. The USP argues that stringent controls are needed to prevent the presence other metals and elements that could be toxic.
History of edible gold and silver
The tradition of using gold and silver in food has a long history. Gold and other natural materials of beauty, like silver, pearls, amber and coral, were attributed in ancient times with powerful virtues and for that reason were used in food and medicines and then become popular in decadent confectionery treats.
There are accounts of Aureum potabile (drinkable gold) used to fight disease in the 1700s.