Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wax Coatings On Fruits And Vegetables

Many fruits and veggies make their own natural waxy coating to retain moisture, because most produce is 80-95% water.

After harvest, produce is washed extensively to clean off dirt and soil. In this process, most of the natural wax is removed. Therefore, waxes may be applied to replace the natural ones.

Waxes are used to help inhibit mold growth, protect produce from bruising, prevent other physical damage and disease, and enhance appearance.

Waxes are used only in tiny amounts and completely harmless. Each piece of waxed produce only has a drop or two of wax. These waxes may be mixed with water or other wetting agents to ensure they are applied thinly and evenly.

All coatings used on fruits and vegetables must meet the food additive regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Produce shippers and supermarkets in the Unites States are required by federal law to label produce items that have been waxed.

Waxes may also turn white on the surface of fruits and vegetables if they have been subjected to excessive heat and/or moisture. This whitening is perfectly safe.

Next time you are on the produce aisle of your favorite supermarket, notice the commodities that may have coatings. Some may include apples, avocados, bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, peaches, squash, and tomatoes.

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