A paper on " Colored Confectionary" was recently read before the British Association, from which we condense some valuable and novel information. We learn that, for economy's sake, confectioners, in coloring candies, &c., have recourse for their greens to Brunswick green, carbonate of copper, or arsenite of copper; for the yellows, to chromate of lead or gamboge ; for their reds, to red lead, vermilion, or cinnabar; and for their whites, to white lead. These are only a few of the pernicious coloring agents used, and they are among the deadliest poisons. The way in which these poisons are laid on also deserves a word of passing remark. In some instance a very thin coating of the coloring matter is used, so as to spread over a very large surface a small portion of the material used; but in other cases the very reverse is the fact, and in Qne instance a quantity of arsenite of copper sufficient to destroy the life of a healthy adult was procured from a piece of ornamental table confectionery, not the size of a sugar almond. Confectioners have no reason to use these poisons, for there are harmless vegetable colors enough to answer their purposes. Among these are—for yellows, saffron, tnme-ric, Frenchberries, Persian berries, qnercitron bark, fustic-wood, and lakes of the last four colors. Reds—cochineal, lake ditto, including carmine, Brazil wood, madder, and lakes of the last two colors. Pnrples—madder purple, logwood and indigo, any of the lakes with indigo or litmns. Blues—litmus and indigo. Greens—sap green (rhamnus catharticus), mixtures of any of the vegetable yellows or lakes with indigo, including Persian berries and indigo. Nor would the prodncts of their arts suffer in their attractive appearance by the employment of such colors. We most strongly advise every one who values his health, and perhaps his life, as matters are at present constituted, sedulously to avoid partaking of articles of confectionery exhibiting either blue or green, but especially of such as are green, these latter being but too frequently of a most deadly poisonous nature.—Am. D""ggist's Circular.
This article was originally published with the title "Candy and Poison" in Scientific American 13, 18, 137 (January 1858)