becoming more health conscious, and as a result, a new
awareness of fresh fruits and vegetables has developed.
This has created an increased demand for, and consumption
of, fresh produce. In order to ensure that consumers are
receiving the best possible product, the industry is continually
trying to improve their products to ensure the longest
shelf life and best nutrition possible. The use of protective
coatings on apples is one method used in this effort.
were using waxing processes on fruits as early as the
twelfth century, but it wasn't until 1922 that waxing
was introduced for widespread use. A thin, wax-type coating
is applied to apples as a means of protection.
As fruits and
vegetables ripen in the field, most develop a natural
wax-like protective layer called a cuticle for protection
from the sun's rays. After harvesting, many produce items
(including apples) are washed to remove any dirt or dust.
Unfortunately, this washing process also removes the waxy
80-90% water by weight. If they are left without the cuticle,
the water quickly begins to evaporate, resulting in a
poor product in a relatively short period of time. To
maintain freshness and appearance, wax-type coatings may
be used. The amount of protective coating is very small.
For example: four litres of coating is all that is required
to protect five tons of apples - that is approximately
30,000 medium-sized apples.
the industry's foremost concern is consumer safety, including
the safety of substances used as protective coatings.
These coatings may be evaluated by Health
Canada to ensure the safety of the product. If, however,
you are still concerned about protective coatings, washing
in warm water will remove most of the coating and peeling
the fruit will completely remove any coating used.