ever dive deep into a bag that beef jerky, and also just when you obtain to the great stuff (a.k.a. All the powdery, flavorful goodness coating her fingers in ~ the bottom that the bag), girlfriend feel prefer you’re chomping under on…plastic? Surprise! That"s a silica gelatin packet.

You are watching: What happens if you eat the do not eat packet in beef jerky

What walk silica gel even do?

Silica gelatin packets room desiccants—a fancy means of saying that they absorb moisture, claims Roger Clemens, a pharmacology and also pharmaceutical scientific researches professor in ~ the USC school of Pharmacy, International facility for regulation Science. You"ll often see this packets in snack food packages, dietary complement bottles, and also medication packets, says Clemens.

Basically, moisture leader to foods getting stale, moldy, and otherwise not funny to eat—so the silica gel helps store your snack fresher for longer. Silica (specifically, silicon dioxide) is sometimes directly mixed right into powdery commodities in little amounts to stop caking, add to Clemens.

That doesn"t seem so bad—what"s through the "DO not EAT" scariness?

Don"t worry: silica gelatin is not toxic, follow to the National resources Poison center (NCPC). Phew.

Basically, that scary brand is slapped top top silica gelatin packets since it"s considered a choking peril for tiny children, claims the NCPC.

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Depending on the packaging and product needs, silica gel packets don’t contain an ext than 5 grams the silica gel, and also it’s all FDA-approved, Clemens says. That method it’s “non-toxic, is not absorbed or digested, passes through the gut and also is subsequently eliminated.”

So, girlfriend shouldn"t be eat it necessarily (why would you desire to?) but if friend did accidentally, it"s not the finish of the world.

Can you use those silica gel packets because that anything else?

Actually, yeah. At sight enterprising civilization have come up v all type of clever ways to re-use this suckers, including:

And sure, these room all precious trying if girlfriend can"t bring yourself to throw them out.

But when it concerns your food or meds, don"t play mad Scientist. “Regulatory organ recommend discarding them," says Clemens. "They have actually a restricted ‘shelf life’ in the they can only absorb a restricted amount the moisture." so by the moment you"re gaining a silica packet, it might have already took in all the moisture it can handle—making it usually useless.

The bottom line: Silica gel packets room not intended to it is in eaten, so...don"t. However if you accidentally eat one, you"ll be entirely fine.

Marissa MillerMarissa Miller has spent a decade editing and also reporting ~ above women’s health worries from an intersectional lens through a emphasis on peer-reviewed nutrition, fitness trends, psychological health, skincare, reproductive rights and beyond, and also currently stop a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell.

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