One of my friends recently went to India and brought back some sweets today. These sweets have a silver layer on top. Therefore, I'm quite curious as to whether or not it is safe to eat silver.

As far as I know, there is no processing mechanism for heavy metal in the human body. I think that these sweets probably do not contain real silver metal, otherwise they could be really expensive... I guess it could be aluminium or some other less expensive metal.

Anyone have any idea?

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    Gold foil for food is stamped so incredibly thin that you can barely touch it without it shrinking; I've only worked with edible gold leaf, I wouldn't be surprised if the same were true for silver as well.
    – JasonTrue
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 4:59
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    Silver is completely safe to eat, even in large quantities. If you eat enough of it over a long period of time your skin will turn blue, though. Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:12
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    The US FDA considers silver dragées (those little silver bb-like things) to be 'for decorative use only' and not for eating. A little more than a decade ago there was a guy suing stores that sold them without being so labeled : sfgate.com/bayarea/article/…
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 3:07
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    And more recently in the news ... there's been research that has found levels of valuable metals in sewage treatment plants that it might be worth trying to recover it: blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2015/01/20/… (and they have no idea how it's getting in there. It might be wear from fillings, or gold leaf in food)
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 14:33
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    Ferritins may take up silver (look it up there are lots of refs). However, when thin bits of silver hit hydrochloric acid in the stomach, they're liable to either get coated with a layer of insoluble silver chloride, or dissolve completely, precipitating as silver chloride. That should be swept through the gut pretty cleanly. Commented Jun 16, 2018 at 23:46

2 Answers 2


This is a reasonably common practice in South Asian cuisine. Some reasonably credibly information can be found in the Wikipedia article on vark. Quoting from the section on safety:

Gold and silver are approved food foils in the European Union, as E175 and E174 additives respectively. The independent European food-safety certification agency, TÜV Rheinland, has deemed gold leaf safe for consumption. Gold and silver leaf are also certified as kosher. These inert precious metal foils are neither considered as toxic to human beings nor to broader ecosystems


The total silver metal intake per kilogram of sweets eaten, from vark, is less than one milligram.

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    I'll simply add that the silver (or most other "food-safe" metals) will mainly pass through your digestive tract without doing much beyond oxidizing (the process responsible for tarnishing/rusting). The heavy metals that are of concern are generally those that form toxic soluble compounds or interfere with biological processes, neither of which silver can readily do.
    – RICK
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 1:54
  • Most silver salts, including the chloride, are insoluble in water. Commented Jun 16, 2018 at 23:47

We in India using Consumable Gold Leaves and Silver leaves in huge quantity, As par Unani, Turkey, Egyptian, Greece, Italian and Indian Ayurveda Consumable Silver and Gold have several benefits. India have some big Companies Like "Shree Varnika Royal Products" who manufacture Silver and Gold Leaf. These companies are certified by FDA, GMP and various compliance authorities.

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