If Eve was to walk in a super-store and be spellbound by a shiny Apple that created all the problem , she sure will find herself picking the the apple coated with Shellac.
Yes you read that right , Shellac . Almost all commercially available citrus fruits are coated with it . Most of us know of Shellac as a non - toxic polish that prevents the wood from loosing moisture. Shellac plays the same role in food industry too , it is often present in a lot of food commodities disguised as "Candy Glaze” , “ Confectionery Glaze” ,
“ E904“ , “ Lac resin” and more .
Vegetables and fruits produce their own wax, but once harvested and processed , which usually involves rinsing and washing ; the natural wax is partially or completely removed from the surface of the fruit. This wax is of great use as it
- inhibits the mould growth
- Slows down ripening
- Prevents the loss of moisture from the fruit
- Also acts as a barrier against microbes
- Keeps fruit firm , fresh and plumpy
In the absence of this wax the fruits becomes too susceptible to damage and it’s shelf life is reduced almost to half .
Apples without shellac begin to soften at a higher pace compared to their coated cousin.
Shellac is used in waxes for citrus fruits.Fruits like Apples, Oranges, Avocados,Lime, Pineapple usually are coated with shellac to make them sit on grocery store for a long time .
It goes by the name Lac Resin or E904 in food industry. Shellac is derived from female lac bug, a bug that is native to India.
The secretions of the insect is heated , refined and then approved by the authorities to be used on fruits and other food commodities. So calling fruits vegan would be a wrong choice , they can be vegetarian but definitely not vegan . I stumbled across this discovery while I was helping a vegan friend to get back in shape and I had to do a little research on food options .
Manufacturers have found a loop hole in the entire system to hide this from consumers as the Shellac is a natural secretion, there is a high probability that all or most of the organic foods may be carrying it. In some cases ( candies) it is mentioned on the label but it’s not a necessity. FDA approves it , recognize it safe and Vegetarian not vegan.
So to answer the question-are fruits really vegan ? Yes they are, in their natural form plucked from tree they are vegan but once processed for market they no longer are vegan - but are vegetarian . The nutrition of the fruits is in no way altered by this . So most of us can still enjoy the sweet ,Citrus and savoury taste of an orange on a sunny day or an Apple to keep the doctor away.