Every year, for more than a decade, my client, who shall be only referred to as “Big P. Daddy”, brings me several boxes of Peeps (yes, the candy) as a jovial Easter gift. I never eat them. I just give them away. This year we took the time to sit down and read the label. And among the more frightening ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, there is something called Carnauba Wax listed as the last ingredient. Now, we all know that I don’t know much about anything, let alone candy and cars (yes, cars!), but Big P. Daddy does. And he told me that this particular ingredient, this Carnauba Wax, is exactly what it claims to be…Car Wax!!
You got it kids, Peeps, as well as a host of other candies contain this “useful chemical” typically found in many household products including cosmetics, molds for semiconductor devices, as well as, furniture and car wax! Also known as Palm Wax or Brazil Wax, this product comes from the leaves of the Copernicia prunifera palm grown only in Brazil (naturally, and naturally – get it?) It consists of fatty acid esters (80-85%), fatty alcohols (10-16%), acids (3-6%) and hydrocarbons (1-3%). It is around 20% esterified fatty diols, 10% methoxylated or hydroxylated cinnamic acid, and 6% hydroxylated fatty acids. Huh? Exactly! It is harder than concrete! That’s good to know. Right? Nearly insoluble in water and ethanol (which is a grain alcohol that can be blended with gasoline and used in motor vehicles)! What? And, it has a very high melting point of 82-86 °C (180-187 °F). Good God and we eat this stuff. Oh, here’s some good news…it is non-toxic and hypoallergenic. Really? That’s a relief! Anyway, the truth is that this stuff, as well as a multitude of other ingredients that we read, but can’t pronounce, on “food” labels won’t kill us if we eat it. But is it really necessary or does it do us any good? No. So, when picking out a treat, I know I’ve said it before…but I am saying it again, choose some of your favorite seasonal fruit. Yes, it contains natural sugar; but not enough to do you “bad”. But it’s fiber will fill you up and empty you out; it’s water will help keep you hydrated; and its antioxidants will aid in lowering your cholesterol levels, preventing strokes and heart disease.