There’s a common misconception that when it comes to fruits and fresh produce, wax is the devil. Many people falsely believe that wax can cause cancer or other illnesses. On the contrary, there is close to zero evidence that wax is bad. In rare cases, the worst wax can do is cause mild indigestion, but it’s never life threatening.
At Breadfast, our fruits lead ensures that our suppliers always use the bare minimum amount of wax, following strict European food regulations. Not only does this prolong the shelf life of your favorite Breadfast fruits and veggies, but it will also keep it looking shiny and dapper. You might be surprised to know how many products in the grocery store use this method of waxing to preserve freshness. Apples, citruses, nectarines, cantaloupes, avocados, pineapples; even nuts, candy, cheese, and meats – just to name a few. As a matter of fact, wax is a method of produce preservation that has been around for centuries.
Wax through the Ages
The use of wax to preserve fruits and vegetables dates back to more than 900 years ago. The Japanese, for example, boiled soy milk to create yuba – the skin formed on top of the liquid. Yuba was then used to coat food for storage. In ancient China, merchants in the south were also known to have coated oranges with wax so that it remains fresh and juicy even after a long trek to the emperor in the north. Our ancestors knew even back then, that wax coatings were the secret ingredient to protect foods from insect damage, shrinking, spoiling, and also to improve appearance. It was only in the 1920s and 30s that this method became prevalent in commercial farms as well.
How it works
Naturally, fruits, such as apples, have their own protective wax and yeast. It takes on a more powdery, dusty texture. It’s easier to spot the natural powder-white wax on fresh plums, for example. However, right after produce is harvested for commercial farms, the fruits are washed and brushed to remove dirt and chemicals, which removes its original wax.
The commercial wax is then added to preserve their freshness, keep insects out, and also prevent shriveling or premature rotting.It’s often made of compounds such as sugarcane, resin, starc, gluten, beeswax, or carnauba – the same ingredients found in creams and cosmetics. One gallon of wax with water can coat 10,000 pounds of citrus, or 25,000 pounds of nectarines! That’s the equivalent of about two drops of wax per apple. Even if you do consume a little more than two drops of wax, myth debunking sites such as Snopes proved that humans don’t digest wax. Instead, the wax gets passed through our system without getting absorbed.
Wax doesn’t trap chemicals, but sometimes your produce will have remaining traces of them. Thankfully, there are hacks to help clean your produce (even though no trick can be 100% effective). For a deeper cleanse, soak your produce for 15 minutes in 2 cups of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and rinse before eating. This compound will degrade and dissolve pesticides. You can also peel your fruit and produce before eating them, but for fruits like apples, this also removes the antioxidants and fibre present in the peel.
One thing for sure, is that the healthy benefits of fruit far outweigh any potential risk.
Most experts, including our own fruit and produce lead, agree that even if there are pesticides present in produce, they are most likely too low to be harmful. So go, enjoy your shiny, beautiful apples worry free!
You can buy green, yellow and red apples from the Breadfast app now.
(Cover photo: Pierpaolo Riondato from Pexels)