The Hidden Dangers of Apeel: Understanding Its Development and Potential Health Risks

Keto Cher


In today’s world, reducing food waste and extending the shelf life of produce are top priorities. Apeel Sciences, a company founded in 2012, came up with an innovative solution called Apeel. This product aims to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for longer periods. While Apeel sounds promising, there are growing concerns about its safety and the lack of transparency surrounding its ingredients. In this blog post, we'll dive into what Apeel is, how it was developed, why it was created, and the potential risks it poses to consumers.

What Is Apeel?

Apeel is an edible coating applied to fresh produce to slow down spoilage. Developed by James Rogers, a materials scientist, this coating acts as a barrier, reducing the rate at which water and gases escape from fruits and vegetables. Essentially, Apeel helps produce stay fresh longer, which sounds like a great way to cut down on food waste.

Development of Apeel

Apeel was developed to tackle the massive issue of food waste. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted annually. This statistic motivated Rogers to create a solution that could help reduce waste and ensure more food reaches consumers in a fresh and edible state.

The development process involves extracting certain materials from the skins, seeds, and pulps of various fruits and vegetables. These materials are turned into a powder, mixed with water, and then applied to produce. The idea is that since these substances naturally occur in many fruits and veggies, the coating would be safe to eat and effective at extending shelf life.

Why Was Apeel Developed?

Apeel was developed with several goals in mind:

  1. Reducing Food Waste: By keeping produce fresh longer, Apeel aims to cut down on the amount of food that spoils before it can be eaten.

  2. Improving Food Security: Preserving the freshness of produce helps ensure more food is available for consumption, which is particularly important in areas with limited access to fresh food.

  3. Enhancing Sustainability: Reducing the need for frequent transportation and refrigeration of fresh produce can make the food supply chain more sustainable.

What Is Apeel Made From and How Is It Made?

Apeel is made from a blend of lipids and glycerolipids extracted from plant materials like the skins, seeds, and pulps of fruits and vegetables. The extraction process isolates these compounds and converts them into a powder, which is then mixed with water to create the Apeel solution. This solution is applied to the surface of fresh produce.

The specific formula of Apeel is proprietary, meaning the exact ingredients and their amounts are kept secret. This lack of transparency has raised some eyebrows among consumers and food safety advocates.

Potential Negative Effects on the Body

Although Apeel is marketed as a safe and natural way to extend the shelf life of produce, there are concerns about its potential negative effects on the body:

  1. Absorption Through the Skin of Produce: Apeel is designed to be absorbed into the skin of produce, making it difficult to wash off before eating. This means you might be ingesting the coating along with the produce.

  2. Unknown Long-Term Effects: Because Apeel's exact composition is a secret, it's hard to evaluate its long-term effects on human health. While the individual components are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, the safety of the combined formula over long-term exposure remains unclear.

  3. Potential Allergens: Without full transparency about the ingredients, there’s a risk that Apeel might contain substances that could trigger allergic reactions in some people. Consumers can't make informed decisions about whether Apeel-coated produce is safe for them without knowing what's in it.

Legal and Regulatory Concerns

Apeel is legal for use on both conventional and organic produce in the United States and several other countries. However, its use on organic produce has stirred controversy. Organic farming standards emphasize transparency, natural inputs, and minimal processing. The secretive nature of Apeel's formula and its application to organic produce raise several issues:

  1. Lack of Labeling Requirements: In many places, including the U.S., there are no mandatory labeling requirements for produce treated with Apeel. Consumers may not know they’re buying produce treated with this coating, which undermines their ability to make informed choices.

  2. Transparency Issues: The proprietary nature of Apeel means consumers and even regulatory agencies don't have access to detailed information about its composition. This lack of transparency can erode trust in the product and in the broader organic food system.

  3. Compatibility with Organic Standards: The use of Apeel on organic produce raises questions about whether it aligns with the principles of organic farming, which typically emphasize natural and minimally processed inputs. A processed, secretive coating like Apeel may seem inconsistent with these principles.

Dangers of Lack of Transparency and Labeling

The lack of transparency and labeling requirements for Apeel-treated produce can lead to several potential dangers:

  1. Consumer Misinformation: Without clear labeling, consumers may not know the produce they’re buying has been treated with Apeel, preventing them from making informed choices about their food.

  2. Health Risks: The secret formula of Apeel means consumers can't know if it contains substances that could pose health risks, such as allergens or compounds with adverse long-term effects.

  3. Erosion of Trust: Lack of transparency and labeling can erode trust in the food system, especially within the organic sector. Consumers who choose organic produce often believe it’s free from synthetic or heavily processed inputs. The use of a secretive coating like Apeel on organic produce can undermine this trust.


Apeel offers an innovative solution to reducing food waste and improving food sustainability. However, its secretive formula and lack of transparency and labeling raise significant concerns. Consumers have the right to know what’s in their food and to make informed choices about their diets. The potential health risks associated with Apeel, particularly its unknown long-term effects and possible allergens, highlight the need for greater transparency and rigorous safety testing. As consumers, it’s crucial to advocate for clearer labeling and full disclosure of all ingredients in food products to ensure the safety and integrity of our food supply.

In this blog post, we’ve taken a closer look at Apeel, its development, and the potential risks associated with its use. The secretive nature of Apeel and the lack of mandatory labeling requirements pose significant challenges to consumer transparency and trust, especially within the organic food sector. Ensuring that consumers are informed about the products they consume is essential for maintaining a safe and trustworthy food system

References and Footnotes

  1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2011). Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention. Rome.

  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (n.d.). Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).

  3. Rogers, J., Apeel Sciences. (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved from Apeel Sciences Website

  4. Organic Trade Association. (n.d.). Organic Standards. Retrieved from OTA Website

Discover the potential risks of Apeel, an edible coating for produce, and why its secretive formula raises health and transparency concerns.