Not so EdAble
On 10 March 2014 Leeds Magistrates Court imposed a fine and costs of £13,515 on Margaret Martin and her business EdAble Art Limited for selling cupcake glitter, made of plastic normally used for drinks bottles, as an edible decoration.
Margaret Martin, Director of EdAble Art Ltd sold decorative glitter, meant for use on greetings cards, to sugar craft suppliers and cake shops in such a way as to make them believe it was suitable for consumption. The Court heard how Margaret Martin misled a cake business into believing her products could be eaten, and the cake business, in turn produced glittered cupcakes coated with these tiny pieces of shredded plastic and sold them to the public.
The plastic material used for this glitter is not edible, its chemical name is polyethylene terephthalate, it is manufactured as craft material, and as such its effect on the human digestive system is unknown. It should NOT be eaten.
EdAble Art Ltd ignored repeated advice from its local trading standards department in Durham and continued to misleadingly market the glitter as edible. Martin told the Court that the name of her business was derived from the names of three animated mice characters called Ed, Able and Art!
Offences were brought under the Food Safety Act 1990 for supplying a food not of the nature demanded in that it consisted of polyester plastic film, the Food Additives (England) Regulations 2009 for supplying a non-approved Food Additive, The General Food Regulations 2004 for failure to supply information to the local authority and the Companies Act 2006 for failure to disclose company information. The defended case took three days to hear due to the number of witnesses and the complex legal arguments involved. Expert evidence was provided on behalf of the prosecution by the West Yorkshire Public Analyst.
Councillor Bill Urry, of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee, said ‘If the company had followed previous advice issued by both their Local Authority and the Food Standards Agency these proceedings would not have been brought. No consumer would want to eat this product if they knew its true composition. If anyone has concerns of similar products being marketed as edible please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.”
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