People are just discovering what the wax on lemons is made of – and it will make your stomach turn!
The waxy finish on lemons – have you ever thought about what it’s made of?
Viewers of a recent episode of Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped found out exactly what goes into the mixture and some people are shocked.
It’s rare to eat the zesty zest of a lemon, but slices are often added to food and drinks.
So it’s no surprise that stomachs turned when people discovered that the wax is made from a waste product excreted by insects.
According to Nigella Lawson, fruit producers spray the peel of citrus fruits with a thin coating of wax after the fruit is harvested to keep them looking fresh.
After lemons are harvested, they are often coated with a waxy glaze to help them travel and give them a tasty shine (stock image)
It also provides some protection for the skin during transit and adds an inviting glow.
However, on an episode of Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped, presenters Kate Quilton, 39, and Matt Tebbutt, 49, traveled to factories around the world to discover why lemons are often waxy and what exactly that wax is made of.
Matt found that one of the main ingredients, along with some sort of plastic, is shellac, a word most commonly associated with the stuff we coat our nails with.
Intrigued, Kate went to Thailand to find out exactly what shellac is made of and the results have horrified viewers.
Her host Tomas took Kate into the jungle and explained that the most important part is found in trees.
Stunned, the presenter begins to look around and is horrified when they cut down a branch covered in what Tomas describes as insect nests.
The insects, known as lac beetles, spend their entire lives on a tree, sucking up the sap.
Kate called the fact that lemon wax is made from beetle dung ‘bizarre’ after traveling to Thailand to learn more about what shellac is made from
Tomas, explains: ‘We make the glossy product from pee or waste from the beetles.’
In a voiceover, Matt explains that the female lac beetle excretes their waste on the branches of the trees to make a hard protective nest.
It’s this nest of the live and dead beetles that the pickers forage in to make shellac, which is why some super-strict vegans don’t consider some lemons vegan.
After hearing this revelation, many viewers were shocked and amused.
Referring to a point in the clip where Kate tasted the liquid shellac and told the factory owner it had a distinct taste, one person wrote, “That’s pretty hilarious. ‘Oh, it has flavor’, and a few minutes later we find out why.’
Kate’s host Tomas showed what the bug nests looked like and told her there were babies in each of the bags before pulling one out to show her
Kate was fascinated to see the dead and live bugs under the microscope, while Tomas told her that the hard stuff was actually poop and pee from the bugs.
Viewers of the clip were shocked by the revelation that lemon wax is made from beetle droppings, among other ingredients
Another viewer added, “beetle pee + polyethylene: fantastic recipe for the people in hell (sic).”
“Then she ate the lemon wash that came out of beetle pee and poop,” one extrapolated person wrote.
Someone else wrote ‘that’s the list of my concerns lol but insect waste and the synthetic plastic whatchamacallit apparently that’s edible.’
“Is there anything Kate doesn’t put in her goo,” another joked.