Health Sachet No 297:

Festival times are back. As you revel in Indian sweets, here is a reminder, especially if you are a vegetarian:
Edible silver leafs, used for decorating the sweets, are prepared with the help of animal intestines:

It is easier to separate silver from animal tissue than from paper. So silver is kept between layers of ox-gut and pounded till it becomes a very thin leaf. As a result, FSSAI, India’s Food Safety Authority, has banned the silver leafs from August 2016.

Some silver leafs are now prepared with polyester sheets coated with food-grade calcium powder, instead of animal gut. They should be fine for use.

Silver and Gold leafs, by themselves, are safe for consumption. Both the metals have antibacterial properties. The concerns are unhygienic conditions used in the production of their leafs and occasionally, use of aluminium instead of silver for making the leafs.

Avoid sweets with decorative Silver or Gold leafs.

Photo credit: Indian Sweets 1 (license)