‘An apple a day, keeps the doctor away’ is an age old saying which still holds true, because Apples are full of dietary fibre, curb food cravings, and contain antioxidants called flavonoids which helps in preventing chronic diseases.
But do you know that wax is applied on apples to make them look fresh and shiny? Those shiny looking apples are not fresh, but are coated with a layer of wax to make them look enticing.
What is Apple Wax?
Apples have high water content in them and also have natural wax which coats the fruit and lessens water loss and keeps them fresh. So after the apples are picked from the farms, farmers wash them to remove dirt which results in loss of natural wax and shine.
Farmers then apply wax on these apples to add the shine and also protect them from decay, the wax prevents it from interacting with the environment, thus delaying decay. They have been applying the wax, by following guidelines and keeping the people’s health in mind by applying bees wax or wax obtained from vegetable oils. They never used to use wax obtained from petroleum products as they are bad for health. However, those guidelines are not being followed according to R. Balasubramanian, vice-president, Consumer Protection Council, Erode. “Today, the shine on the apples surface comes from either petroleum wax or chemical spray that are harmful to the digestive system.” The Union Government has taken note of it and its Health and Family Welfare Ministry issued a gazette which says that “fresh fruits may be coated with bees wax (white and yellow) or carnauba wax or shellac wax at level not exceeding Good Manufacturing Practices under proper label declaration.” So the government has strictly laid down conditions on the wax type to be used and also has asked the traders or importers to mention which wax material has been used.
Gross violation in the name of Apple wax
Waxed apples can affect the quality of apples as it can cause a condition in them called anaerobic respiration occurring in fruits which are waxed as the wax can act as an oxygen barrier. Waxed apples look shiny and feel firm but inside they are soggy and tasteless. This can also affect our digestion system as Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood says “The natural wax present in apples is easily digestible and does no harm to the body. On the other hand, wax coating is done to preserve apples for as long as they can. The wax used may not be easily absorbed by the body and can be harmful for the colon or the small intestine.”
Here are some ways in which you can remove this dangerous wax:
Dip the apple in hot water to remove the wax, after removing it from the hot water, wash it again under running tap water.
- Add one tablespoon of lemon juice and one tablespoon of baking soda in water and dip the apples in this mixture and scrub it with a vegetable brush and wash them under tap water.
- Use vinegar and scrub the apples and rinse with water.
- Dip the apples in Apple cider vinegar and wash the fruit with water later.