Cake decorating pens

26 May 2015

Food Standards Scotland would like to bring to your attention the unauthorised use of the carrier Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) in some edible inks for cake decoration.

IPA is not a permitted additive under EU food additives legislation and its use in any food for an additive function is not authorised.

Any substance added to food (including a food colouring) for an additive function must comply with EU food additives legislation. IPA used in colours in edible marker pens is considered a carrier or carrier solvent and these carriers are subject to special authorisation and conditions of use.

Following recent concerns from Spain about IPA being used in food colouring pens which were marketed there by a UK company, the subject was discussed by all EU Member States who agreed that the substance should be classified as a non-authorised carrier.

Food colouring inks and pens containing IPA may be found on internet sales sites or at retail premises such as independent outlets supplying cake decorating materials. FSS has written to Local Authorities about checking the labelling of the pens for the presence of IPA as an ingredient and, if so, where possible ask that they are withdrawn from sale.

IPA used as a carrier for colours is unlikely to result in safety concerns and FSS is not advising consumers to return products already bought which lists IPA as an ingredient. However, where appropriate, manufacturers should reformulate their products in order to meet the rules on food additives.
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