Protective edible coatings and waxes are applied to fruits and vegetables as a method of preservation during post-harvest treatment. In Canada, components of fruit and vegetable coatings are not regulated as food additives, with the exceptions of mineral oil, paraffin wax and petrolatum, which are regulated as food additives under the Food and Drugs Act and the Food and Drug Regulations (the regulations set the allowable quantity limits for these protective coatings).
In the U.S., there may be some wax and coating products that are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use on food; however these, products must comply with Canadian regulations and be acceptable for use in Canada if they are to be imported.
There are other protective coatings that are not currently regulated as food additives, but have traditional food ingredients uses, e.g. vegetable oil. Other substances such as shellac, beeswax, candelilla wax and carnauba wax are considered aids to processing in some instances, but other uses of these substances e.g. confectionery glazes, are regulated as food additives. Priority allergens are a consideration when using protective coatings.
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