Many fruit growers have been using wax to preserve their produce on its way to the consumer for years. Although people may have been alerted to its existence, farmers have been using resins to coat their fruit for over a hundred years because it stands to benefit everyone involved in the buying process.
Many people have begun to wonder if fruit wax is a sustainable and healthy practice for the earth or simply benefits people. Everyone loves the idea of eating the whole, natural fruit with nothing else added to the experience, but evidence suggests that fruit waxes are safe to use — and that they may do more for sustainability than meets the eye.
Health and Safety
There will always be health and safety concerns when it comes to food. People are wary of putting anything into their bodies. There are all kinds of reports from blogs and well-meaning individuals ready to spout that fruit wax can damage your gut health, give you cancer or cause oral hygiene issues. The truth is, there’s no evidence to back up those claims. The point of food-grade wax is that it’s safe for human consumption.
In fact, it’s more than safe. Due to the wax’s chemical makeup, it passes through the digestive system without being absorbed or digested, which means that it has virtually no impact on the body. It simply passes on through.
Types of Wax
Two main types of food waxes can be used on produce: paraffin wax and carnauba wax, both of which are safe to eat. While paraffin is made of a blend of natural and synthetic oils, carnauba is naturally derived from a northeastern Brazilian palm plant of the same name. It’s usually bleached and refined. Both are intended for food use.
Paraffin is the more popular choice for fruit waxes and external waxing to make a seal on produce, while carnauba is often used on foods like candy, chocolate, and bakery items. If you’re looking for the best choice for fruit, paraffin is probably your go-to.
Preventing Food Waste
Those who worry that wax is bad for the environment are missing the one big thing it has going for it: preventing food waste. While wax can make your fruit more appealing and shiny, its main job is to create a seal over the skin and protect it from premature aging, bruising, and damage on its journey to the grocery store, and eventually into peoples’ kitchens.
With wax, produce is much more likely to last longer, retain quality, and avoid ending up in the waste bin. Although many people choose to wash their fruit shortly before eating to break up the wax from the surface, the seal remains and keeps the nutrients in until then. Because of this, people will get higher-quality fruit that lasts much longer.
With the reality of food transportation and the long journeys many foods take to get to grocery stores, this is necessary to give people a chance to eat their produce fresh. This means wax keeps fruits fresh and justifies all the resources used to grow and produce it.
Wax coatings are more than fine to use on your produce. They minimize food waste, preserve the quality of your fruit, and maintain health and safety. Food wax has been used in some form for hundreds of years, and although the process is a bit more refined now, it benefits the consumer and the planet. All you need to do is decide on your blend and reap the rewards of less waste and more sales.