Food · Health

What is it Wednesday: Carnauba Wax

Sorry for another late What is it Wednesday post.  I seem to have gotten myself on an evening posting schedule lately.  I would rather post this in the morning so that people will actually read it on Wednesday.  But now when most people read this it will probably be Thursday!  I will try to do better next week.

Anyway at the baseball game on Monday I brought along a box of Gummi Savers in my purse.  The Easter Bunny had included this box of Gummit Savers in Benzo’s Easter basket.  I didn’t really think much about the ingredients until we were eating them.  I casually flipped over the box and found that one of the ingredients was Carnauba Wax.  Huh.  Haven’t heard of that one before!  Our buddy soy lecithin is in there as well.

What the heck is carnauba wax?  According to wikipedia, carnauba wax comes from the leaves of a certain palm plant that is only grown in Brazil.  To get the wax, the leaves are collected and then beaten to loosen the wax.  Then the wax is refined and bleached.

Wisegeek says that carnauba wax is extremely hard and has a higher melting point than other waxes. 

Carnauba wax appears to be used in a ton of different things.  Because it is so hard, carnauba wax is used to make strong coatings for floors and cars.  It can also produce a glossy finish so it’s used in several kinds of polish such as instrument, shoe, furniture and automobile polishes.  It can put a glossy finish on sweets too, which is likely why I found it in the Gummi Savers.  And it is also commonly used to coat tablets by the pharmaceutical industry.

In food production carnauba wax is used as lubricant, release agent, anticaking agent and surface finishing agent in many packaged goods.

So it seems that carnauba wax comes from natural sources.  However it is used in a lot of products other than food.  Does the fact that it is used in furniture polish make you not want to eat it?

I don’t know that it does for me.  I mean just because something is good for other uses besides food doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad to eat.  I clean my house with baking soda and vinegar all the time and that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t eat them.  And I think I’ve read before that you can polish furniture with olive oil.  That doesn’t make me want to stop eating olive oil.

The Center for Science n the Public Interest does not have carnauba wax listed on it’s Food Additives page, so I don’t know that I can give a final verdict on this one.  What do you guys think? 

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2 thoughts on “What is it Wednesday: Carnauba Wax

  1. The more I see something edible used for things besides food the more respect I have for not only that item but for the people with an open enough mind to use it.

    I use baking soda as a cleaner, an air deodorizer, shampoo and in baking! So many functions! I know it’s safe to use around the house because it’s safe enough for me to eat.

    1. Baking soda is so great! I’ve used it as a face scrub. Never as a shampoo though. Do you just scrub it into your scalp and then rinse?

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