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What is Carnauba Wax?

Label Able: Carnauba Wax

A couple weeks ago, I reviewed Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks. As much as I liked them, I was a little weirded out by one item on the list of ingredients — carnauba wax.

As unappetizing as it sounds, I know in my heart that a company like Annie's would never put anything unhealthy in their foods, right? If you're curious to know what this ingredient truly is, then


Carnauba wax comes from the leaves of the carnauba palm, a plant that grows in northeastern Brazil. In hot, dry weather, the palm secretes wax to protect its leaves from damage. To collect the wax, the leaves are dried and then beaten to dislodge the yellowish to brown waxy coating, which usually flakes off. The wax is refined and bleached before it's used.

I didn't know this, but carnauba wax is often called the "queen of waxes." It's a hard substance, so it's used to make durable coatings for floors and cars. It's also used in polishes, varnishes, and beauty products like mascara, deodorant, and lipstick. In foods, it's used as a coating or anti-caking agent, and can be found in frosting, candies (such as Altoids and Tic Tacs), gum, gravies, and sauces. Although I'm not too psyched that the same substance used to add a glossy finish to my shoes is also in something I eat, at least I now know that carnauba wax is plant-derived.

marie-lee marie-lee 8 years
Lo-Lo291303 Lo-Lo291303 8 years
This reminds me of when I was in high school and my friends and I were eating Skittles. I noticed the carnauba wax in the ingredients, and then for the longest time we used to joke that we were eating wax (although it didn't deter us in the
Spectra Spectra 8 years
This irritates me. Just the other day, there was yet another post about HFCS and how horrific it is and many people posted about how they avoid it like the plague. Yet carnauba wax, which is used in car polish, is somehow okay because it's "plant-derived". Um, ok...corn syrup is plant-derived too. So is latex, cocaine, turpentine, and methanol. Just because something it plant-derived doesn't mean you should/shouldn't consume it...use your judgement and consume processed foods in moderation.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Makes me think of a car when I hear that...
sandy82 sandy82 8 years
it's good to know that it at least comes from plants. but yeah, very weird!
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
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