"Apples produce their own natural wax coating during growth. This helps
them retain moisture after picking. However, many packers wash picked
apples with a solvent detergent to remove dirt and pesticide residues
that accumulate during growth. This also removes the apple's natural
wax coating, leaving the apple susceptible to loss of moisture and
To retard this chain of events, many packers coat washed apples with a
commercial wax such as Carnauba. Carnauba is an inert product derived
from the leaves and buds of the Brazilian wax palm. It's been used in
foods since 1900 and, according to FDA's Division of Toxicology, causes
no ill effects at levels used."
"Whether natural or applied, wax may whiten on the surface of fruits or
vegetables if they have been subjected to excessive heat and/or
excessive moisture. This whitening or chalky appearance is similar to
that of a candy bar when you place it in the freezer.
Research has shown that apple waxing prevents moisture loss, enhances
firmness retention and slows down the apple respiration rate.
In the most recent study conducted at the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service Laboratory in Wenatchee,
Wash., Red Delicious apples from Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage
were held at room temperature for eight days (duplicating how apples
are treated in grocery stores). The unwaxed apples lost firmness faster
than the waxed apples.
A second study showed the waxed apples also had less weight loss after
eight days at room temperature. Research horticulturists from the USDA
report "the use of wax on Red Delicious apples improved firmness and
color, and reduced weight loss."
I didn't claim there was a problem with the wax. Without it, we would not
have decent apples 3-6 months after the harvest. I take issue with your
claim that pesticides magically adhere to the wax and are flushed harmlessly
out of your body. That's simply ridiculous. Furthermore, even if it were
true, it would do nothing with regard to systemic pesticides. I'm sure you
know what those are, right?
Well thanks to cross-posting, this thread is also in sci.med.nutrition.
Apparently, it was started by someone paranoid about wax on
commercially grown apples. There is absolutely nothing unhealthy about
eating a commercially grown apple from the USA.
All apples naturally have wax on them.
Historically, just one person died around 1920 from pesticide
contamination. Since then commercially grown apples have been washed
in order to remove all contact contamination from pesticides on the
skin of apples. A safe wax made from palm trees is then added in order
to replace the natural wax that was washed off during the cleaning
If anything the wax on apples documents that it is perfectly safe and
healthy to eat. And, when properly handled this wax does NOT turn
white. White spots on apples, documents that those apples wont stored
properly. A fact that you would think that health conscience
individuals would want to know about. Why would anybody want to buy
white spotted apples, any more than a bunch of dark green bananas?
As usual, a bunch of trolls have tried to turn a non-issue into an
Achieving good Nutrition is an Art, NOT a Science!
The nutrition of eating a healthy diet is a biological factor of the
mind-body connection. Now, weighing in at 18 web pages, the
Nutrition of a Healthy Diet is with more documentation and
sharper terminology than ever before.
Dish liquids contain surfactants that are chosen principally as oil-in-water
emulsifiers. They are *not* wax solvents, and are only OK wettng agents. And
although when dissolved in water they have good wetting properties, their
surface and interfacial tensions are too high to form an aqueous "sheet" of
liquid on a paraffin wax surface, let alone polyethylene, which is easier to
wet than paraffin.
There is at least one product on the market that is formulated as a food
grade wetting agent rather than as an oil-in-water emulsifier. I've tested
one of them on red delicious apples and it worked quite well: Earth Friendly
Products 'Fruit & Vegetable Wash'. Ingredients: water, surfactant, citric
Obviously the manufacturer is very secretive about the name of the
surfactant used in the formulation. Certainly they did not invent that
surfactant either. I have some hunches about the possible surfactants that
it could be. I know quite a bit about them.
It's odd though, how well they work at removing the wax, although the brush
is an equal partner in this process. Believe me when I tell you that the was
*IS* removed. If you'd like to repeat the experiement, be sure to use Dawn
dish liquid, original verson.
Just did some quick research. Apples are washed clean of dust and
agricultural surface contamination before they are coated. The type of wax
used on apples is not paraffin, which is derived from petroleum, but
carnauba, which comes from the leaf of a particular species of Brazilian
palm tree (Copernica cerifera). The carnauba is dissolved in a solvent named
morpholine, which functions as a coupling agent between organic and aqueous
systems. Thus the solution of carnauba in morpholine is miscible in water,
which enables the wax coating to be applied by an aqueous spray at room
temperature or via an aqueous dip bath. The liquid coating is dried quickly
by hot air treatment. All of the aforemented steps are done via a multi-step
automated process, without human contact.
I can now understand how Dawn Original can be helpful in removing the
coating, as carnauba is easier to wet than paraffin. However, I've tested
some inferior brands of fruit/vegetable spray cleaners for the consumer
market, and even some of these dedicated use products were unable to produce
"sheet wetting" on a coated apple. I didn't bother to further test them via
scrubbing, as I want a cleaner that I could simply spray on and rinse off,
without much labor.
Apparently there are trace amounts of morpholine residue in the
predominately carnauba coating. However I think the main health hazard is
not the morpholine, but the contamination from human contact which occurs
1) apples are loaded into the store bins and
2) are inspected/handled by customers.
Certainly it is best to completely completely strip away the wax coating
rather than clean the surface of that coating, as not only would the
morpholine trace be removed, but also whatever contaminates that have been
trapped *into* the soft coating while the apples were in the store.
Whenever I see the smaller cheaper apples that are prebagged in plastic by
the grower or silo, I choose those. I figure that they must be cleaner than
individually displayed apples. Costco stores now offer large premium quality
apples at sharply discounted prices that are sold in clear plastic clamshell
packaging. But if not for the fact that my area also has a waste-to-energy
plant ("burn plant" for generating electricity) I would never buy those.
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