CityGreens Consumer Awareness Initiative. How to check for adulteration in Apples

Up for some fruits shopping? When you see your favorite fruits arranged on the shelves, what about them attracts you the most? I suppose their shine and bright colors. Vendors manipulate these exact qualities to trap people into buying them. Here we will discuss one such technique that is used widely in case of apples – waxing.


Why do vendors wax-coat the apples?

Apples harvested fresh from the trees have a natural wax coating on their surface. This wax- coat helps the fruit to retain water, prevent shrinkage and weight loss. When these fruits are being transported from farm to any marketplace, this natural wax wears off with time and due to poor handling. This leads to spoilage and lower shelf life of the fruit. So the natural wax is removed beforehand by washing them with water. Then, an artificial coat of wax is applied on it. These coatings don’t come off easily and works the same as natural wax to seal the moisture. Thick wax coatings prevent aerobic respiration of the fruit. This leads to fermentation and decay of fruits.

Vendors may use one of the several kinds of wax available for coating of the fruits. Natural waxes like bees wax, shellac wax and vegetable waxes like palm wax, carnauba waxes are fine to consume. However, to cut costs, vendors may use cheaper synthetic and petroleum based waxes which are unfit for consumption.

Health effects of consuming waxed apples

Synthetic wax can harm our digestive system leading to complicated gastric problems. They can also cause ulcers if consumed for longer periods.

Safety tips to de-wax an apple

If you are unsure about the presence of wax in the apple you are about to consume, you can always play safe by peeling off its skin. However, if you like the crisp taste of the skin and have some time at hand, you can de-wax the apples following these simple techniques.

  • Rub apple peel with white vinega
  • Then clean the surface of the apple with lukewarm water
  • After this, when you touch the fruit, you can feel wax-like coating over it
  • Remove this wax coat carefully using a kitchen knife.

This apple now is fit to consume.

Best practices while shopping for Apples

  • Try to buy from retailers who have their own apple farms. Most likely they will sell fresh apples without any wax.
  • Apples without wax will not have uniform red color. You can find some yellow or orange colored small-small patches on the skin. However check for its firmness by pressing it a little in your palm. This will help you get an idea about health of apple form inside.
  • Always read the label to check for the nature of wax as mentioned by the vendor. If you are comfortable with bees wax, Shellac wax or vegetable waxes like Palm wax and Carnauba wax, then you can clean them at home safely using the procedure mentioned above.
  • You can always smell apples for their natural fragrance which is usually missing form wax coated ones.

Stay Safe!

Gaurav is an entrepreneur whose first Start-up was focused on providing services to patients suffering from Chronic Diseases. While researching about the causes of lifestyle diseases and the ways to reduce their incidence, he chanced upon the idea of growing healthy and nutritious food using advanced farming techniques.

He founded CityGreens with a mission to enable City Dwellers to access Safe, Healthy and Fresh food.

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