How safe is the wax on apples?

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Offline acekyle

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How safe is the wax on apples?
« on: 02/02/2010 13:30:02 »
Ace asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi naked peeps!

This is ace, from Ithaca, USA.  I am an apple lover and on some days, i end up eating more than 2lbs (1kg)!  

Anyways, what bugs me is the wax that covers the apples to supposedly preserve them.  

My question is:

- How safe is this wax?
- Is it beeswax or synthetic?
- How can I get rid of it instead of using a blade and grate the skin?  I heard people use vinegar, but I cannot see any change.

Thanks and kudos on the show!

Ace

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 02/02/2010 13:30:02 by _system »

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Offline yor_on

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How safe is the wax on apples?
« Reply #1 on: 02/02/2010 19:01:55 »
"If you walked out into an orchard, picked an apple from the tree and rubbed that apple on your shirt, you would notice that it shined – you've just polished the natural wax that an apple produces to protect its high water content. Without wax, fruits and vegetables like apples would lose their vital crispness and moisture through normal respiration and transpiration – eventually leaving them soft and dry (yuck!).

After harvest, apples are washed and brushed to remove leaves and field dirt before they are packed in cartons for shipping to your local market. This cleaning process removes the fruit's original wax coating, so to protect the fruit many apple packers will re-apply a commercial grade wax. One pound of wax may cover as many as 160,000 pieces of fruit; perhaps two drops is the most wax covering each apple.

Waxes have been used on fruits and vegetables since the 1920s. They are all made from natural ingredients, and are certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be safe to eat. They come from natural sources including carnauba wax, from the leaves of a Brazilian palm; candellia wax, derived from reed-like desert plants of the genus Euphorbia; and food-grade shellac, which comes from a secretion of the lac bug found in India and Pakistan. These waxes are also approved for use as food additives for candy and pastries. (Now you know why your chocolate bars melt in your mouth but not in your hand…)

The commercial waxes do not easily wash off because they adhere to any natural wax remaining on the fruit after cleaning. Waxed produce can be scrubbed with a vegetable brush briefly in lukewarm water and rinsed before eating to remove wax and surface dirt. (Using detergents on porous foods like apples is not recommended!) "
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Offline acekyle

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How safe is the wax on apples?
« Reply #2 on: 04/02/2010 14:07:00 »
wow! thanks for the informative post. never knew apples had a natural wax. anywho, i still frenetically scrub my fruits and veggies from the wax since often time, pesticide residues get trapped between the fruit and the wax.
a.k

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Offline thedoc

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« Last Edit: 01/01/1970 01:00:00 by _system »

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Offline chris

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How safe is the wax on apples?
« Reply #4 on: 09/02/2010 22:51:05 »
Indeed - thank you yor-on for a fantastic answer - I used it - acknowledging you - on the show this week.

Chris
I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception - Groucho Marx

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Offline allah87

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How safe is the wax on apples?
« Reply #5 on: 13/02/2010 11:51:58 »
Thanks for this....


________________________________

Telephone Answering Service | long island dj's | Real Estate in Provo Utah
« Last Edit: 15/02/2010 12:35:33 by allah87 »

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Rose Henderson

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« Reply #6 on: 05/03/2015 17:08:07 »
This was an interesting read because I never knew apples had wax on them to begin with. It's really smart they do that actually. Since the natural waxes from the apple get cleaned off it makes sense that they would need to find ways to protect the apple again. If it's safe I have absolutely no issue with it.

http://www.bjjbrushes.com.au/food-industry-brushes

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Julian

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« Reply #7 on: 01/04/2015 11:40:17 »
Because it is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration does not mean is safe. The opposite is certainly the case as the purpose for applying wax is to encrease the shelf life of the apple. More or less like the additives on any processed food container. Such substances cause toxic build in the body leading to the worst deseases that come to mind.

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Buddy

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« Reply #8 on: 09/04/2016 06:18:09 »
Depends on the country and their regulations.

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Vincent Summers

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« Reply #9 on: 19/09/2016 17:57:33 »
Hi. I am a chemist. Is triacontane no longer used to wax apples? Are you certain the ones listed here are the waxes used to treat apples now?

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Gage

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« Reply #10 on: 16/11/2016 21:29:25 »
Tell them what shellac is.
Ya'll Google shellac, or 'why is my apple so shiny?'


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Ellen McGuffie

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« Reply #11 on: 24/11/2016 01:00:57 »
I realize you do not celebrate Thanksgiving in Great Britain, but here I am preparing my cranberry sauce for tomorrow, and the cranberries feel waxed. I am perturbed. I do not wish to boil my cranberries with wax on them. When you think of the surface area of a bunch of cranberries as compared to an apple, that is a lot more wax. And when I searched for wax on cranberries, I only got answers about Brazilian waxes, bikinis and candles.

This is the first time I have ever encountered wax on cranberries. Since they are only available a couple of times a year, I do not see the great need for increasing shelf life. I can only buy them around Thanksgiving and Christmas. That's it. No more cranberries. Why are they waxed?

In addition, I am one of those souls with lots of food allergies, which increase each year because I cannot get my gut to stop leaking. Wheat, corn, beef, eggs, sorghum, peppers -- can't remember what else right now. But that's enough. If it's allergenic and I keep eating it, it seems I will become allergic to it, given time.

I do not want my cranberries to be waxed.

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Ellen McGuffie

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« Reply #12 on: 24/11/2016 01:01:17 »
I realize you do not celebrate Thanksgiving in Great Britain, but here I am preparing my cranberry sauce for tomorrow, and the cranberries feel waxed. I am perturbed. I do not wish to boil my cranberries with wax on them. When you think of the surface area of a bunch of cranberries as compared to an apple, that is a lot more wax. And when I searched for wax on cranberries, I only got answers about Brazilian waxes, bikinis and candles.

This is the first time I have ever encountered wax on cranberries. Since they are only available a couple of times a year, I do not see the great need for increasing shelf life. I can only buy them around Thanksgiving and Christmas. That's it. No more cranberries. Why are they waxed?

In addition, I am one of those souls with lots of food allergies, which increase each year because I cannot get my gut to stop leaking. Wheat, corn, beef, eggs, sorghum, peppers -- can't remember what else right now. But that's enough. If it's allergenic and I keep eating it, it seems I will become allergic to it, given time.

I do not want my cranberries to be waxed.

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Offline RD

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« Reply #13 on: 24/11/2016 05:59:40 »
... I am one of those souls with lots of food allergies, which increase each year because I cannot get my gut to stop leaking ...

The science behind “leaky gut syndrome” ... https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/leaky-bowel/

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Offline Bored chemist

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Re: How safe is the wax on apples?
« Reply #14 on: 15/01/2017 10:34:23 »
Because it is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration does not mean is safe. The opposite is certainly the case as the purpose for applying wax is to encrease the shelf life of the apple. More or less like the additives on any processed food container. Such substances cause toxic build in the body leading to the worst deseases that come to mind.
You seem to have forgotten to add any evidence to back up this claim.

In particular the only "artificial" wax they could use is paraffin wax.
Not to put too fine a point on it, this doesn't get absorbed by the body and so it's opportunity for doing harm falls somewhere between not much and nil.

However one purpose of the wax coating it to keep bacteria and fungi out of the fruit.
Even before there is any visible decomposition, the microorganisms can be producing toxins.
Since these mycotoxins include some of the most toxic materials known to mankind, it's likely that, on balance the wax  provides a benefit to human health.

There's also the fact that, by improving the shelf life, waxes ensure that the product can be made available more cheaply.
So even those whose incomes are limited are able to take advantage of the health benefits of eating fresh fruit.

Do you really think the wax coating on apples is a bad thing?
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