Canada Health Alliance

Uproar Over ‘Apeel’ Food Coating Sheds light on Big Ag’s Capture of Organic Food Agencies

Brenda Baletti

Agribusiness watchdog OrganicEye this week petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish formal regulatory oversight for the public and private organizations that determine what products can be labeled organic.

The request comes after a recent social media controversy surrounding a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded synthetic fungicide and fruit coating — Apeel — sparked public debate about potentially dangerous synthetic products and herbicides that make it into the food system under the “organic” label.

… Apeel was not coating food with the dangerous chemicals found in the cleaning product. But the controversy drew public attention to the fact that most fruits and vegetables sold in the supermarket are covered with an edible #lm the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calls “surface-finishing agents.”

These agents are meant to “increase palatability, preserve gloss, and inhibit discoloration of foods, including glazes, polishes, waxes, and protective coatings,” according to the Code of Federal Regulations.

Over time, these coatings have become more complex than the traditional, organic beeswax used in the past, according to OrganicEye’s white paper on food coatings.

The Apeel company produces two products — Edipeel for use in conventional food and Organipeel for use in organics — but it is moving away from that distinction in its marketing, instead using only its brand name, “Apeel.”

Image: Greta Hoffman @ Pexels

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