Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

I recently purchased some cake tins second hand online, and the ex-decorator who sold them to me, was kind enough to surprise me with her old set of colours too! My only concern is that they R REALLY old. One of them has a use by date of 1997!!! Is it safe to use them? Or is it okay just to use them for Gumpaste figures that wont be eaten? Or should I just chuck them?

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Also, they all looked fine, (i opened and smelt and looked at each one) except one... Seemed cloudy. I shook it and then it looked fine... But I will prob throw that one out as I've never seen liquid food colouring that was cloudy before. It was an apricot colour which I've never used before so I don't know if it settles like that after a while or not. But yeh, prob not good?

Penny - if you're not sure, chuck it.  Can't take any risks.  I have to say, I still use some old colourings and had no issues with them.  I wouldn't think they could get toxic or anything, but might not colour properly.  Certainly don't see why you can't use them on accents that won't be eaten.  Try colouring a small amount of butter cream or fondant and then eating it - see what happens!

Penny, put yourself in your customer's place. How would you like being told the cake your about to eat has coloring that may or may not be safe to eat. Do you know that there is nothing that has been done to these! We as bakers have a responsibility to our consumers. They trust us! From washing our hands to using clean instruments to using safe food products!

Indeed Pat - I wouldn't use them for a paying client, only personal.

Yes these were my thoughts also. I fellow cake decorator said to me that food colouring does not expire, ever. But I just worried, because I don't know how clean the last owner was. She could have dipped unsanitary brushes into them, or stored them in high heat which can effect them etc. just wanted to know if I was being paranoid!!

You have a good point Penny - she could have used a stick that had butter cream on it for example and stuck that back in.  I don't think you're paranoid at all.

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