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Friday, 24 June 2011

Sweetie Jewellery - Handmade crafts that look like food and sweets

This week’s blog post is a result of a forum debate that I had with another maker of handmade jewellery regarding the implications of making handmade crafts including jewellery, soap, candles etc that resemble sweets and food. My concerns were that the jewellery in question resembled sweets and there were possible safety issues and that the maker should consider having it tested. My comment was based upon past experience however was made to seem unimportant by the other jewellery maker.

When I started out making resin jewellery a couple of years ago, my first attempts were to incorporate real sweets within resin jewellery. At the time I liked the fun and often colourful results of using sweets and food within the jewellery and to be honest they were very popular. After making a few items of jewellery my immediate concern was for any health and safety implications of having items of jewellery that looked like sweets. I therefore contacted my local Trading Standards office who were very helpful and came to visit me on a couple of occasions. Not only did they take some of my jewellery away for laboratory testing they were also very helpful with the business side of things.

Real Sweetie Jewellery

So my jewellery was tested for compliance with the Food Imitations (Safety) Regulations 1989 and they were considered satisfactory. They even presented me with the laboratory report and gave me the ‘green flag’ to allow me to sell them. It was suggested that if the jewellery or beads closely resembled sweets they would not be acceptable; the items need to be sufficiently altered and that there have been several makers of sweetie jewellery and beads that have been asked to stop trading because of this.

So what do the Food Imitation (Safety) Regulations tell us? Well, Section 4 of the Food Imitations (Safety) Regulations 1989 clearly states:

"No person shall supply, offer to supply, agree to supply, expose for supply or possess for supply any manufactured goods which are ordinarily intended for private use and are not food but which–

(a) Have a form, odour, colour, appearance, packaging, labelling, volume or size which is likely to cause persons, in particular, children to confuse them with food and in consequence to place them in their mouths or suck them or swallow them; and

(b) Where such action as is mentioned in (a) above is taken in relation to them, may cause death or personal injury."

Seems to be quite clear to me and in my opinion I feel that if anybody wishes to make sweetie jewellery or any handmade crafts that resembles sweets or food they should seek advice before selling it. I have looked at a few reputable online bead shops that sell sweetie beads and several have this statement within their terms and conditions:

"The individual beads must not be resold by you to non-commercial (private) buyers as they do present a potential choking hazard and as such do not comply with section 4 of the Food Imitations (Safety) Regulations 1989.

It is your responsibility that jewellery made with Imitation Food beads is safe and secure. The beads are not edible and they are not suitable for children due to choking hazard."

Colourful Sweetie Beads

There are lots of people making or supplying handmade crafts that resemble food and sweets; most of which is targeted to children. It is our responsibility that handmade items that resemble food are safe for all and the best way to confirm that is to seek advice. that off my chest!



  1. here here! good post mick on a potentially very serious matter. we need to protect our little ones. my eldest (2.5) would eat something like that given half a chance for sure x

  2. Interesting points raised here Mick. Yes there is a risk here, but as little ones will not be buying these kind of beads, the responsibility of us adults becomes more important.

    I even put a disclaimer on my childrens jewellery stating it is not a toy and adult supervision is needed at all time - "just in case", because you can never second guess a persons way of thinking.

  3. Great balanced article. Love your allsorts pendants!

  4. I've been considering using the liquorice allsort beads, but this had never occurred to me. Thank you; very informative.

  5. Many thanks all for your very positive comments! I have always assumed that any products that I buy from shops have met the necessary safety regulations, are correctly labelled with any safety warnings and are generally safe for me to buy or consume.

    As a maker of handmade crafts I feel that this can often be over-looked when handmade goods are sold to the public...and sweetie jewellery is a prime example!