Most fruits and vegetables synthesize their own natural waxy coating to help retain moisture to maintain the freshness. Washing removes the natural wax and therefore, wax is applied to some selected fruits and vegetable to supplement the natural wax.
Waxing helps to:
- Retain moisture in fruits and vegetables during transport, handling and at the market
- Protect fruits and vegetables from bruising
- Prevent from damage and also mold and disease infestations
- Improve the appearance of produce
Waxes are used on a variety of fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, avocados, bell peppers, cantaloupes, cucumbers, eggplants, grapefruits, lemons, limes, melons, oranges etc.
Waxes usually come from natural sources such as plants, petroleum and insect product. The food grade waxes are those originated from plants, petroleum, beeswax, shellac based wax and resin waxes. In fact, the waxes ingested are not digested and traverse through our body system without breaking down or being absorbed. Waxes often turn white and leave residues on produce when exposed to excessive heat or moisture and the produce with white waxes are still safe for consumption.
If you are still worried about eating waxes, it is recommended to:
- Peel the produce before eating
- Scrub the fruits with a brush under running water
- Use baking soda as a mild scrubbing agent to help remove wax
- Use lemon juice for cleaning fruits and vegetables
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