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Wax on Organic Fruits and Vegetables

Many fruits such as apples, plums and pears naturally produce a waxy bloom, helping to protect from moisture loss, maintain fruit firmness and freshness and delay ripening.

Wax is added to fruits and vegetables to further improve attractiveness, decrease moisture loss, especially during storage, slow down decay and to help prevent scarring and bruising at the retail level as the fruit is handled by both customers and retail workers.

Apples naturally produce a waxy bloom

Apples naturally produce a waxy bloom

In order to be applied to produce, waxes and other edible coatings must be food grade. The most commonly used waxes include carnauba wax (from the leaves of the carnauba palm) and shellac (an insect wax), responsible for adding the desirable shininess. Waxes and edible coatings are applied to both conventional and organic produce.

Organic produce must use organic wax containing materials approved by the OMRI(Organic Materials Review Institute). As an OMRI approved post-harvest handling material this does not need to be disclosed by the vendor or put on boxes.  OMRI’s mission is to support the growth and trust of the global organic community through expert, independent and transparent verification of input materials, and through education and technical assistance.

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