GOLD IN FOOD. IS IT SAFE TO CONSUME?

The powerful social media recently turned Gold decorated food into extravagant, viral sensations. Nowadays many restaurant & bar preparing food and drinks using gold leafs or flakes. You could probably find one in your high end neighbourhood restaurant or bar. While you’re being dazzled by sparkling gold flakes suspended in your cocktail, or the delicately laid leaf surrounding your dessert or chicken wings, one thought may cross your mind: “can we really eat gold?” Or, if you’re like me, the question is just “What is the gold’s reaction on human body?”.

Regardless, for centuries, thinly pounded sheets of pure gold have been used as garnish in European and Indian desserts and ground into Japanese green tea. As far as I know, nobody has died from gold poisoning. I researched with a couple of nutritionists to find out if consuming gold harmful to your biology.

In my research i found, when you do eat gold, you’re not just eating any ornament. Edible gold must be 23-24 carats. It’s not the same gold you find in your jewelry shops, which may have other metals and can be toxic and dangerous if consumed. The gold used for edible applications is known as E-175, a designation given by the European Food Safety Administration (EFSA) when using the metal as an additive or food coloring. The effects and safety of E-175 were first evaluated back in 1975 and recently re-evaluated in 2016 by EFSA.

Gold leaf must be 90 percent pure gold, with the other 10 percent typically consisting of another safe metal to consume, like pure silver. Its not going to do anything to you. aif we speak Scientifically, gold is chemically inert, meaning it won’t break down during digestion. Most likely edible gold won’t be absorbed from the digestive system into the bloodstream, and therefore it will pass through the body and eliminated as waste.

And that’s where the research on gold as a food additive hits a slight roadblock — that roadblock being the near non-existence of any research. The EFSA cites a “lack of data on toxicity, purity and the exact nature of gold used on or in foods.” So, to fill in the gaps they, appropriately, looked at gold dental fillings for insight. As gold has been commonly used for decades in dentistry, we do know that the effects of it on the body are, at the worst, a rash for those hypersensitive to the metal. Gold particles do appear in the saliva samples of people with gold fillings, so it’d be safe to assume those people are swallowing them and that it is not causing any harm.

Another application of ingested gold is in medications, which have been used homeopathically throughout history, but also pharmaceutically, as it is in the treatment of rheumatism. In the latter case, gold is used in conjunction with sulphur and phosphor as a sort of a delivery system for the actual medication and some studies suggest the precious metal has anti-inflammatory capabilities. The only danger gold could produce is on the nanoparticle level where it can be destructive to cells when injected directly into them in lab experiments. However since gold nanoparticles are too big to permeate a cell membrane, that threat is nearly non-existent. The EFSA findings do indicate that liquors like Goldschlager could have suspended gold nanoparticles in them, but again, they don’t seem to be able to do much to you. At this point, you may have noticed everything referenced above about the safety of gold as a food additive is from a European inquiry. In fact, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t have guidelines for gold consumption, specifically due to a lack of inquiries about it. The closest the United States can come to an official stance is from the Centers for Disease Control, which does not designate gold as a poison. So gold is not poison.

Reishu Sharma

News Reporter

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