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Poisonous Flower Information

Is it ok to use Fresh Flowers on my cake?


There have been more and more enquiries about whether fresh flowers and feathers can be used on a cake or not. Far more flowers and foliage are poisonous then we give credit to. There are more concerns now as cakes are often seen with real flowers without any reference to whether they are dummies or not. This causes problems when brides ask for a copy of a cake without realising the consequences of their decisions. For example feathers may not have been cleaned after leaving the bird or ivy is commonly known as "poisoned ivy".

The below list of flowers was originally imparted by Tombi Peck, but she has stated this is not the exhausted list. If using fresh flowers consider using a dummy cake and have a cutting cake in the kitchen. If considering using a particular real flower/foliage on a cake we would suggest you should research it first to ensure it is safe to use. I have seen a few comments from people stating that they have contacted the local EHO and have been told there are no restrictions. This is true at the moment but does not lessen the risk.

At the 2007 Annual Representatives Meeting (ARM) a discussion took place during which it was disclosed that a handful of florists die each year from certain poisonous saps. With the above in mind it was agreed that National committee will take the lead and will contact DEFRA requesting that standards and rules should be set out and passed out to anyone in the food industry or more importantly involved with floristry and supply items for food related items, e.g. a wedding cake. Anything on a cake should be edible or food standards approved.

Some people feel that the concerns of the Guild are over the top. We feel that it is only fair that we give you the facts to allow you to choose how you handle these commissions.

The list below is a guide only. We would strongly suggest that you double check that a flower used is safe.

Glitter Cakes & Competition

Use of Metallic Colours

Non toxic/Non edible products must not be painted directly onto any item that represents something that could be eaten such as a dummy cake, novelty cake or on a marzipan model.

EDIBLE METALLIC COLOURS will only be accepted if the product used is made available showing the manufacturer’s label stating it is EDIBLE. Non-toxic is NOT acceptable. The product should be placed in an envelope or outer covering next to your exhibit and with your competition entry number clearly displayed.


There are no restrictions on the use of edible gold and silver leaf, when used on competition work. Competitors should declare the use of these materials so that both the judges and the public are made aware of the validity of the gold and silver used.


There are no restrictions on the use of non-toxic/non edible products where the item is for decoration/art only and is not meant to be eaten. For example: - a pastillage model or a decorated plaque.

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