Criticism of beeswax wraps
Stiftung Warentest (German consumer test magazine) has published a short text on the subject of beeswax wraps. There, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment stated that the impregnation could be transferred from beeswax wraps onto the food. That is why they came to the solution that “Beeswax wraps are not a solution”. We consider this judgement to be wrong and would like to take a closer look at the arguments of Stiftung Warentest here.
Four main arguments are put forward against beeswax wraps:
- Beeswax can contain pesticides, harmful substances and paraffins
- Oily food dissolves beeswax and thus pollutants can be transferred onto food
- Jojoba oil should not be used
- The cleaning of the beeswax wraps
We take the following position on this:
Ad1) It is true that it is not possible to control the flight of bees 100%. There are also some beekeepers who spray their colonies excessively with pesticides. Of course we support a species-appropriate keeping of bees, which can do without the use of pesticides (Read about our partnership with the Aurelia Foundation who fights agains the usage of pesticides). We have 100% of our wax batches checked for pesticides, varroacids, harmful substances and paraffins and can thus exclude on the one hand the contamination of our beeskin with harmful substances, on the other hand the black sheep among the beekeepers are thus screened and sorted out.
By the way: Harmful substances are also transferred to the “wrapped food” when the cardboard packaging is printed. This is why our beeskin packaging is not made of recycled paper (where unfortunately heavy metals are found due to the recycled glossy magazines such as Vogue or Elle) but of FSC-certified paper from Sweden instead, printed with special inks that do not “migrate” – i.e. do not transfer to the beeswax wraps. The beeskin packaging is “compliant and certified for direct food contact”.
Ad2) Yes, greasy (oily) food facilitates the transition from wax to the wrapped food. We have included a note in our packaging that oily food can have exactly this effect. If there are no harmful substances in the wax, even a slight transition is less critical than when food, wrapped in plastic film, is left out in the sun. An independent laboratory has confirmed that the migration of our beeskin is in compliance with Article 16 of European Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004.
Ad3) We spent a long time thinking about the question which oil we use for our beeskin. The oil makes the wraps smoother, longer lasting and prevents the wax from bursting when the temperature changes. We chose jojoba oil because
- it does not have to be shipped over the ocean since our jojoba oil comes from Israel
- it is a wax and not an oil and therefore does not become rancid
- it is cold pressed and therefore does not require any additives for extraction
there is no damage to the plant during extraction because the fruit is picked and the seeds are then pressed
- it does not leave a greasy film, but contains vitamins A, B and E
- Vitamin E is a natural preservative
- it has antibacterial and antimycotic effects
In 2007, the BfR established that jojoba seeds are not suitable for consumption. The simmondsin contained in jojoba oil is said to have appetite-suppressing properties. There are studies which say that a weight reduction has taken place in rats when 10% jojoba seeds are added to the feed. (International foundation PROTA in its book “Vegetable oils” .
There are also more recent studies from Canada in 2019 in which jojoba seeds are positively evaluated as an appetite suppressant. In the USA there are several registered and patented drugs with Simmondsin as an ingredient.
Our wraps contain on average 15g of a mixture of beeswax, resin and jojoba oil. The jojoba oil makes up about 2% of this mixture. Jojoba seeds contain approx. 2% Simmondsin (see above), i.e. an average cloth contains 0.006g Simmondsin. If an appetite-suppressing property starts at approx. 0.1% admixture in food as stated by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, a person would have to eat approx. 1g Simmondsin per day to achieve this effect. This means he would have to eat about 166 entire beeswax wraps a day in order to achieve a slimming effect and about 50,000 for a lethal dose. Considering that, based on magazine Spiegel, 150 cups of coffee are also lethal, everyone can make up his own mind.
Many products contain jojoba oil. International brand Labello advertises with natural ingredients such as jojoba oil. To our knowledge there have been no deaths from Labello lip care so far. Sole toothpaste from Weleda contains jojoba oil, we believe that also in this case the risk of absorption by humans is also much higher than when using a beeskin beeswax wrap.
Ad4) It is also criticized that the wraps can only be cleaned insufficiently. We recommend normal cleaning with a little detergent and cold or lukewarm water. For very dirty cloths, the cloth can also be disinfected with vinegar cleaner or placed in the oven at 100 degrees.
And why don’t we just use coconut oil?
90% of coconut oil are produced in the Philippines, Indonesia or India. In the past, it was small farmers who produced coconut oil. It is now used as a substitute for palm oil and is therefore cultivated in large plantations for which rainforests are cut down. It has a very high content of unhealthy saturated fatty acids, worse than lard, butter and palm oil and increases the risk of heart attacks as stated by the heart organization. An other disadvantage is that it becomes rancid much faster than jojoba oil. The criticisms of coconut oil production are similar to those of palm oil production as the Rainforest Foundation states in an article. A complete changeover would mean over 308 million tons of additional CO2 emissions according to a study by the WWF.
The latest study by Eric Meijaard, a professor at the University of Kent, is very disturbing: 5 times more species die from the production of coconut oil than from palm oil production. Sad but true: there are even species that are now threatened with extinction due to coconut oil production.
beeskin is a sustainable product and it is very important to us that the ingredients and their extraction are also sustainable.
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