Have you heard of Apeel?
It’s the coating that’s being sprayed on your fruits and vegetables that you may be unable to wash off completely…
This is popping up all over the place online – so many companies and influencers are talking about it so we decided to hop on and inform you about it too.
What is Apeel, and Why is it Being Used?
According to Apeel’s website, the purpose of using Apeel on produce is to reduce food waste by slowing down spoilage. Apeel is a coating sprayed onto produce after being picked. They claim it’s made of purified mono and diglycerides derived from sustainably sourced, non-GMO plant oils, with citric acid from organic produce. Note that Apeel can only be used on organic produce in the US but not in the EU or UK.
In simple terms, mono and diglycerides are broken-down fats, in this case, sourced from plants.
What foods is it on? How do I know if the foods I’m buying have it?
Apeel states that produce contains a “microscopic” amount, around 0.06 grams, which varies depending on the size of the produce. Labeling varies depending on the manufacturer and grocer. This means it could be on a sticker, on the packaging, or even on a sign in the store. Be on the lookout and ask an employee if you’re unsure. However, there have been reports of employees being unaware that their produce has this coating.
In the USA, avocados, limes, and apples may be coated with Apeel. In Europe, it’s found on avocados, English cucumbers, lemons, limes, mandarin oranges, grapefruit, and mangos.
Can I wash it off?
I’m all for washing your produce thoroughly to remove excess pesticides and residues. Apeel states that while it’s good practice to wash your produce, it’s not necessary to wash off Apeel, given its safety.
However, it fails to mention if Apeel can even be washed off, stating, “You can remove some of the Apeel protection with water and scrubbing.” The key word here is “some,” leaving the question of how much is coming off versus how much you’re ingesting.
If you’re concerned, peeling the skin off is a way to avoid the coating – although, as a Registered Dietitian, I encourage people to eat as much of the skin as possible since it’s rich in fiber.
How does it affect my health?
According to Apeel, their coating is completely safe: “The safety of mono- and diglycerides have a long history of safe consumption and are a commonly used food ingredient.”
While Apeel claims to be completely safe, non-toxic, and even tests for heavy metals, it’s important to note that according to Apeel’s GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) Notice by the FDA, states its edible coatings may have residues including ethyl acetate, heptane, palladium, arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. However, Apeel can say their product is “safe” as the FDA concluded that the residues of these substances were below their required limits.
What non-GMO plant oils are they using?
While Apeel doesn’t directly state the plant oils they are using, the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) application states that they are derived from grape seed. Grapeseed oils are very high in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) and Omega 6. While we all need omega-6 to survive and thrive, the ratio of omega 3 (anti-inflammatory) to omega 6 (pro-inflammatory) must be optimized to promote good health.
The standard American diet consists of an abundance of omega 6 compared to omega 3, enabling a pro-inflammatory state in the body. If Apeel uses these oils even in the minimal amounts our produce is coated with, I would aim to limit these foods, especially if you have inflammatory conditions, as everything adds up and can trigger the body.
What chemicals and solvents are used in the extraction process?
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find this information, which I believe is key to understanding what’s in this product and how it may impact our health.
I’m always a bit skeptical when something new is added to our food. While the initial research presented is promising, the reality is that we need long-term studies, specifically in humans eating produce with Apeel, to know its impact on our health.
When buying produce, I would still go organic when possible and, in general, give your produce a good wash- water is best, but you can also do a 1:1 water/white vinegar rinse to really get it squeaky clean.
I’ll most likely be avoiding Apeel produce when I can. However, I will be sure to stay up to date on its current research and news!
If you’re ready to optimize your health and feel good in your body, reach out!
P.S. If you want to learn more about Apeel, here are some resources!