Edible ink printing
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Edible ink printing is the process of creating preprinted images with edible food colors onto various confectionery products such as cookies, cakes, pastries or Lattes. Designs made with edible ink can either be preprinted or created with an edible printer, a specialty device which transfers an image onto a thin, edible paper. Edible paper is made of starches and sugars and printed on with edible food colors. Inks and paper materials used by edible ink has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and carry its generally recognized as safe certification. High quality images retain color clarity and resist color bleeding, even in high moisture applications.
Edible paper is the paper used in edible ink printing. The first papers of this process used rice paper while modern versions use frosting sheets. Such paper may be consumed without harmful effects. Edible paper has no significant flavor and limited texture. Edible paper may be printed on by a standard printer and, upon application to a moist surface, dissolves while maintaining a high resolution. The end effect is that the image (usually a photograph) on the paper appears to be printed on the icing.
Although the edible paper was created first, edible printer inks have now become prevalent and used in conjunction with special ink printers. Ink that is not specifically marketed as being edible may be harmful or fatal if swallowed. Edible toner for laser printers is not currently available. Any inkjet or bubblejet printer can be used to print, although resolution may be poor, and care should be taken to avoid contaminating the edible inks with previously used inks. Inkjet or bubblejet printers can be converted to print using edible ink, and cartridges of edible ink are commercially available.
Some edible inks are powdered, but if they are easily soluble in water they can also be used as any other edible ink without reducing quality. Edible paper is used on cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and even marshmallows (in Africa during the holidays).