Can You Eat Wax On Cheese? [What Is It & Is It Safe?]

Whether it be rind or paraffin wax, the wax found on cheese protects the cheese. Without the wax, the cheese would start to go rancid fairly quickly. In most cases, the wax is easy to get off of the cheese; in other cases, many people are forced to ask whether or not this wax or rind is safe to eat.

Paraffin-based cheese wax will often have a bright color such as red or yellow, sometimes black. While this type of cheese wax is food-safe, eating it is not the best idea. The natural rind found on many kinds of homemade cheese is safe to eat. However, they won’t taste very good.

can you eat wax on cheese

Different types of wax are used to cover the cheese. I want to discuss these waxes and whether or not any of them are safe to eat. 

Also, I want to talk about Babybel cheese. So many people eat the red wax on it because it usually doesn’t specify that you are not supposed to; let’s jump into it.

Can You Eat The Red Wax On Gouda Cheese?

Gouda and Cheddar cheese are the two most common types of cheese found in most homes. They typically have two kinds of wax coatings. Depending on the company, one will be red; this is generally Gouda, and the other will be black, usually reserved for cheddar.

The wax has to be food-safe. After all, the entire block of cheese will be dipped in the wax to give it a nice even coating. If the wax was not food safe, I am pretty sure companies would not add them to avoid a lawsuit.

However, just because the red wax on Gouda cheese is food-safe does not mean you should eat it. It is not made for consumption, and our bodies cannot digest that type of wax. So, it adds no nutritional value while making the body overwork to get rid of it; it also doesn’t taste good.

Can You Eat The Cheese Rind On Cheese?

There are various rinds on cheese, and many people mistake rinds for wax. After reading this article, you should be able to tell whether or not a cheese has rind or wax. 

We also need to talk about whether or not they are safe to eat. So, here are the different types of rinds and whether or not you can eat them.

  • Washed rind: This rind will have different shades of orange, starting from light to very dark. The rind is formed when the cheese is sprayed with liquid, typically brine. You can eat the washed rind.
  • Bloomy rind: I do not recommend eating bloomy rind at all. While edible, it does not taste very good and could make you feel ill. The Bloomy rind is formed when a cheesemaker purposefully sprays mold onto the cheese. The decay starts as a spore and eventually surrounds the entire block of cheese. You can spot Bloomy rind easily as it looks like soft moss.
  • Dry rind: This is similar to the washed rind, except, instead of spraying the cheese with brine, a cheesemaker will rub oil onto the cheese, which forms a dry layer of protection. You can eat the dry rind. Its most notable characteristic is that the outer layer is hard and often has deep cracks.
  • Other Natural Rinds: Some cheesemakers use the environment to cure the outer layer of the cheese, which forms natural protection for the inner parts. These are often hard and dry but don’t change color too much. They are also edible.

Does Eating Cheese Wax Or Rind Have Nutritional Value?

Paraffin wax typically used to cover cheese such as Gouda or cheddar has no nutritional value. It is made from petroleum and other synthetic polymers that are safe to eat. So eating cheese wax is pretty much eating empty calories.

Natural cheese rind contains a similar amount of nutritional value as the cheese covering. However, the bloomy rind contains very little nutrition And has one of the worst tastes.

What Does Cheese Wax Taste Like?

If you have never eaten cheese wax and are curious about what it tastes like, this section is for you. Hopefully, I can convince you that eating cheese wax is not the best idea.

As you consume cheese wax, it will taste like rubber and chemicals. The after-taste is the worst, at least in my experience, as it tastes like what candles smell like.

Cheese rind can differ depending on how the cheesemaker made the cheese. For example, they could use a wash that consists of wine instead of brine, significantly altering the flavor.

Most cheese rinds will have a strong flavor that almost overpowers your taste buds and leave a harsh after-taste. 

5 Reasons Not To Eat The Wax On Babybel Cheese

Baby bell cheeses are those small red cheeses that look like mini blocks of Gouda. You should never eat the skin, although it is safe to do so. Here are five reasons why in my experience, it’s best to avoid eating the red wax:

  • Your body does not digest it properly.
  • It tastes terrible.
  • It has no nutritious value.
  • Eating too much might be unhealthy.
  • The wax is not intended to be eaten.

If you want to see what it should look like when eating Babybel cheese, here is an Instagram post from one of the official Babybel Instagram accounts:

Peeling the skin off Babybel cheese.

Natural Versus Unnatural Cheese Wax: Which Is Safe To Eat?

Cheese wax is never natural; however, cheese rind can be natural. As mentioned, you can easily spot the difference between the two. There are many subcategories. For example, you get red wax, black, orange, yellow, etc.

We have also already discussed the different types of rind that you find on cheese. Both of these are all safe to eat. The natural rind is often the safest type of cheese coating to eat, which is better for you.

What Can Happen If You Eat The Wax On Cheese?

If you have consumed cheese wax and are starting to feel ill, you should always consult with your doctor, and even if you do not feel sick but want to take precautions, give the doctor a call.

It is important to remember that a cheese covered with wax instead of being protected by cloth needs to be approved by the FDA. Theoretically, the wax is not harmful when consumed.

However, it could be harmful if you consume too much of it, and you might become a little bit ill and have stomach pain. Therefore, I recommend always removing the wax before eating the cheese to avoid this. I also stick to this opinion regarding cheese rind because even though most are natural and edible, your body might not agree with them.

Final Thoughts

I could have titled this article “Do not eat cheese wax” because I know I had a rather negative outlook on it. However, some people enjoy eating a Babybel cheese with its wax on; you might be one. 

If you are genuinely curious, I can’t stop you from trying a little bit of cheese wax.

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