As a convenient method of consuming candy without “painstakingly” unwrapping it, many people enjoy eating Starbursts with the wrapper. Although Starburst wrappers are not toxic, you should avoid eating them because they are not designed to be consumed and may cause health problems if consumed in large quantities. Here’s what you need to know about Starburst wrappers, why people eat them, and how to deal with eating one accidentally.
Starburst Wrapper – Why Eat It?
Wrigley Company’s Starbursts are extremely popular candy.
An iconic all-American brand that is well known throughout the world, it is a soft taffy candy introduced in 1960.
Traditionally, Starbursts have been sold in bars made up of small pieces of candy.
Some people remove the wrapper from the candy before eating it, but others choose to eat it with the wrapper as it saves time – but why are Starbursts wrappers considered edible?
Unlike other brands that use foil or plastic packaging, Starbursts are packaged in paper packaging coated with a special wax that creates a barrier between the candy and the packaging.
The wax coating prevents the wrapper from sticking to the candy – and this packaging method has been used since the candy was first invented!
Although the paper material gives the wrapper the appearance of being edible, the company has never advertised it or advised against eating it.
There aren’t many people who eat Starbursts with the wrappers, and fortunately, there haven’t been any complaints, so the company hasn’t addressed the issue.
It hasn’t stopped people from eating the candy with its wrapper to save a few seconds.
Considering what you are doing, it just seems like you are consuming paper by biting off a piece with your teeth.
The packaging only lists the ingredients of the candy and other marketing and regulatory information. Unfortunately, it does not mention the ingredients or chemicals that make up the packaging.
You might see “made from recyclable material” or other similar phrases on the wrapper, but brands rarely list the ingredients in their packaging because, well, they aren’t meant to be eaten.
Are Starburst Wrappers Safe?
It is difficult to answer this question since there is very limited information on the wrappers – and since there haven’t been enough cases of consumption, the company is unlikely to provide any information regarding the ingredients in the wrappers.
If there is no social media wave forcing the company to issue an official statement about this trend, then just follow common sense and don’t eat the wrapper.
Still not convinced?
You may want to consider the following risks if you eat starbursts candy with the wrapper occasionally or regularly:
There Is Ink On The Packaging
Wrappers aren’t just plain paper – they’re also printed with ink.
Usually, manufacturers will use food-safe ink on the packaging material that is directly in contact with food, but in the case of Starburst wrappers, each candy is individually packaged and its logo is printed on the outside – so there is no way to tell if the ink is safe to eat.
If you think about it, we’ve always been told not to store food in newspapers and printed wrappers because the ink may leak onto the food.
It is the same reasoning here – and since people willfully eat the wrappers, it might be even more dangerous.
The Paper Wrappers Contain Toxic Colors
A large amount of dye is also present in the wrappers, just as they have printed material on them.
As well as colorful packaging, Starbursts use different colors to indicate flavor. For example, lemon-flavored Starbursts are bright yellow.
In the official online material and knowledge base provided by Starburst, we found no mention of the packaging or its materials.
But environmental agencies, like the Environmental Defense Aid, indicate that packaging (on plastics or paper) is often printed with industrial-grade colors.
These wrappers can contain per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances, heavy metals, residual processing aids, and many other contaminants that hinder brain development, harm reproductive systems, and cause endocrine disruption in humans.
We can safely say that eating large concentrations of dye and ink is not recommended!
The Wrappers Can Cause Digestive Issues
It appears that Starbursts are made of a composite material of paper and other materials. Paper on its own is porous, so it can absorb oils released from the candy at higher temperatures.
This isn’t the case with Starbursts, as the paper and wax coating keeps the packaging free of any residue. This suggests that there is more to the “paper” packaging than meets the eye.
It’s important to know this because paper is naturally fibrous and contains a high amount of insoluble fiber.
Fibers that are soluble in liquids or gastrointestinal fluids can be absorbed by the body without any problems.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, remains undigested and moves virtually unchanged through the digestive tract.
We consume a lot of insoluble fiber in our diet, but most of this fiber is designed to increase stool density.
Packaging like Starburst wrappers can potentially block the digestive system if it moves unchanged.
When enough wrappers clump up in the digestive tract, they can block the intestines, requiring immediate medical attention.
A blockage can cause sharp or dull pain in the intestines, swelling in the abdomen, constipation, vomiting, and inability to pass stool or gas.
As well as this, the wrapper, ink, or even the wax may trigger a strong immune response, resulting in a wide range of symptoms.
Additionally, there is no telling what allergens or other contaminants the exterior packaging might contain!
Accidentally Ate A Wrapper? Here’s What To Do
Please do not panic if you accidentally consume a wrapper. Never induce vomiting without proper medical supervision if you accidentally consume a wrapper.
Most people will not have digestive or health issues when eating one or two wrappers – and this is likely to be true for most people, as a lot of people already eat candy with wrappers.
Would you gamble your health on a hunch?
As we have already discussed all the hazards of consuming candy with its wrapper, we recommend that you avoid eating the wrappers as they are not meant to be consumed.
In the event that you do accidentally eat the wrapper, please consult with a medical professional.
The wrappers of Starbursts may also pose a choking hazard to children, so parents should be especially careful when giving them to their children.
In addition to being difficult to chew, candy with the wrapper on may also irritate the throat, especially for the young.
If the company wanted you to eat the candy with the wrapper, then there would be flavored wrappers – but sadly, this is not the case with starbursts.
If you eat Starbursts with the wrapper on, you may be playing Russian roulette with your gut health.
The following questions relate to eating starbursts candy now that you know the dos and don’ts:
Are starbursts wrappers made from rice paper?
Candy wrapped in rice paper, commonly found in Japan, is intended to be eaten with the wrapper as the packaging is made of pure edible rice paper.
Starbursts are wrapped in regular waxed paper, and the company does not indicate its consumption.
What can you do with Starburst wrappers?
You can reuse candy wrappers for arts and crafts if you are fond of them and want to keep them.
It is common for people to recycle Starburst wrappers and other candy wrappers to make jewelry, origami, and other fun crafts.