Q. I have been eating an apple daily for the last one year. Recently I found the apples coated with wax. I then read that it is done to preserve them. I have now started removing the wax before eating apples. Could you tell me what will be the effect of all the wax coated apples I have had for about an year? Is some check-up/test necessary to find out the side-effects of all the wax that has been ingested?

A. Apples are coated with shellac and carnauba wax to improve their shine because consumers prefer to buy shiny apples. It gives the fruit or vegetable a sheen, which in the eyes of some customers is a sign of quality. Wax is used for a preservation purpose and then cold stored. A coating of wax helps seal in moisture and therefore extends storage life, as well as minimizing costly weight loss. You might be surprised especially the imported apples are more than one year old, though it would look fresh.

Food industry spokespersons claim that the wax is safe to eat, it does give food an off-flavour. It also thwarts your efforts to scrub off pesticides that may have been sprayed on the fruit before it was waxed. These coatings are not harmful, but you should always rinse your apples with soap and water or with vinegar before you eat them.