Fruit Wax Coatings

The application of coatings to the surfaces of fruits and vegetables is commonly denoted as "waxes," irrespective of whether any of their constituents are truly wax. Fruits and vegetables frequently treated with wax include apples, avocados, citrus, cucumbers, eggplant, peaches, sweet peppers, and tomatoes.

In its freshly picked state, an apple has a matte appearance and may bear dust, scratches, scars, and insect bites. However, apples available in stores showcase a smooth and glossy exterior, achieved through the use of artificial fruit wax. The wax employed to safeguard Washington apples typically incorporates carnauba or shellac, both endorsed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These wax formulations are natural and devoid of petroleum-based components.

Following their departure from the orchard, apples undergo an application of commercial coating tailored to attract consumers, imparting a polished appearance to a variety of retail produce, ranging from cantaloupes to avocados to limes.

Research conducted by USDA horticulturists suggests that the waxing of Red Delicious apples enhances firmness and color while mitigating weight loss during storage. Indeed, weight loss is regarded as a benchmark for effective waxing.

The tradition of waxing fruit traces back to 1922 when Ernest Brogden, the founder of California's Brogdex Company, secured the first U.S. patent for the industrial application of wax and kerosene to fruit. This concoction produced a film-like waxy coating that preserves the fruit's firmness, plumpness, and freshness over extended durations.

The importance of waxing lies in diminishing water losses from apples. Studies reveal that waxing not only improves firmness retention but also decelerates the respiration rate of apples. While the FDA considers the wax used on Washington apples safe for consumption, it remains crucial to thoroughly wash all fresh fruits and vegetables before consumption.
Fruit Wax Coatings

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