Wax Applied to Fruit
Consumer Concerns: Waxing, is it safe?
Many fruits and vegetables make their own natural waxy coating to help retain moisture because most produce is 80-95% water.
After harvest but before the produce is packed and sent to the supermarket, it is repeatedly washed to clean off dirt and soil. Such extensive washing also removes the natural wax. Therefore, waxes are applied to some produce items at the packing shed to replace the natural ones that are lost. Waxes help retain the fruit's or vegetable's moisture.
Waxes are also used to help inhibit mold growth; to protect fruits and vegetables from bruising; to prevent other physical damage and disease; and to enhance appearance.
By protecting against moisture loss and contamination, wax coatings help fresh fruits and vegetables maintain wholesomeness and freshness. Waxing does not improve the quality of any inferior fruit or vegetables; rather, waxing--along with proper handling--contributes to maintaining a healthful product.
Waxes come from natural sources.
Wax sources generally are plants, food-grade petroleum products, or insects (similar to honey from bees). Some waxes can be made from dairy or animal sources, but we are not aware of any such coatings being used on fruits and vegetables in Mexico, the United States or Canada. This is particularly important for people following Kosher or vegetarian diets and who don't want any animal-based wax on their produce. Any commodities that do have this type of coating must be labeled "Coated with animal-based wax."
Waxes are used only in tiny amounts.
In fact, each piece of waxed produce only has a drop or two of wax. Waxes may be mixed with water or other wetting agents to ensure they are applied thinly and evenly.
The government regulates wax coatings to ensure their safety.
Coatings used on fruits and vegetables must meet the food additive regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Extensive research by governmental and scientific authorities has shown that approved waxes are safe to eat. Waxes are indigestible, which means they go through the body without breaking down or being absorbed.
Waxes may turn white on the surface of fruits or vegetables if they have been subjected to excessive heat and/or moisture.
This whitening is safe and is similar to that of a candy bar that has been in the freezer.
Apples Produce their own self-wax.
All apples may produce their own natural wax when left out of refrigeration. It's their "built in" self preservation. This is more common with the Granny Smith variety, but all varieties are susceptible. It's completely harmless and does not alter the flavor.
Consumers do have choices.
Waxes generally cannot be removed by regular washing. If consumers prefer not to consume waxes--even though the waxes are safe--they can buy un-waxed commodities or can peel the fruit or vegetable, thereby removing any coating. Ask your grocer if you have questions.
To avoid waxing all together we recommend that you purchase Rainier's Organic Apples. Check with your local retailer about their organic availability.