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Is Shellac Bad For You?

Also Known As: confectioner’s wax, confectioner’s glaze



Short answer

While the fact that shellac comes from a bug may be off-putting for some people, there is no evidence to suggest that it may be harmful to one’s health, other than for those with allergies to the substance.



Long answer

Shellac is made by collecting the dried resin secreted by female lac bugs on trees in India and Thailand. The amount of these bugs required to produce just one kilogram of shellac is enormous, ranging from 50,000 to 300,000. In fact, the root word, “lakh” is an Indian counting unit that refers to 100,000. Once the resin is collected, it is sold in its dry form to various shellac manufacturers where it is mixed with ethanol (varnish shellac, which is highly poisonous, is mixed with methanol).

Shellac is commonly used as a coating in food due to its natural glaze, which comes from its wax content. Also used as a sort of natural glue, shellac is common throughout the food industry and may also appear on an ingredients label as “confectioner’s wax” or “confectioner’s glaze.” Other than a possible allergic reaction for some people, there are no known adverse effects attributed to shellac.

Possible short-term side effects

  • allergic reaction


  • acts as a natural glue
  • improves look of various foods

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Written by Healthy Living 35 | 12-29-2015

Written by Healthy Living 35
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