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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why You Should Wash Your Fruit Before Eating It

Ever wonder why fruit looks so shiny and pretty on display at the supermarket? It's probably coated with wax. This is a practice that has been used for many years to not only make the fruit look better but also protect it from moisture loss and bruising and extend its shelf life. But is that wax coating safe to eat?

Is coated fruit safe to eat?

It depends. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a thin coating of natural wax is considered edible and safe for human consumption. Natural is defined as coatings such as carnauba wax that comes from palm trees, beeswax (well, you know where that comes from), and shellac. The shellac referred to here is a resin that is secreted by the female lac bug on trees that are in the forests of India and Thailand. These are natural substances and considered safe.

Read the label

However, it is a good idea to first, read the label on fruits and vegetables to make sure you know what coatings are being used, and second, wash all fruits and vegetables at home before eating. Petroleum-based waxes are not as safe because they contain added chemicals and are really intended for wood refinishing, not eating.

How to clean fresh fruit

If you don't feel comfortable eating the wax, you should wash your fruits and vegetables when you bring them home. It will remove about 50 percent of the wax but also bacteria from all those people who have touched the fruit before you. Use just plain water, vinegar, or a soap designed for washing produce. Don't use anything harsh that you would not want to put in your mouth. Another option is to peel the skin off. This can be easily done with fruits such as apples.
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practictioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.