So, there's a lot of debate in food wrap circles about Pine Rosin (also know as colophony) and whether or not it's food safe. The answer is 'yes' and 'no' depending on which kind you choose so here's a quick guide:
What is Pine Rosin?
Pine Rosin is made from the oleo-resin (turpentine) harvested from various kinds of pine tree which is then boiled to remove the essential oils. This leaves a brittle solid ranging in colour from the lightest yellow to a deep red-black.
These are graded
- A: darkest
- K: yellow-red
- M: yellow-brown
- N: deep yellow
- WG: window glass (mid yellow)
- WW: water white (palest yellow)
What's it for?
Once you start looking, Pine Resin is everywhere: it's used in cosmetics, dental floss, paper making, inks, polishes, food packaging and so many other everyday items that it almost certain you've used a resin product today.
It's also a traditional ingredient in beeswax wraps and in our vegan wax food wraps it adds stick and also helps to keep the wax on the fabric for a longer life.
Pine rosin isn't soluble in water so it helps to prevent the accidental removal of the wax coating when washing as well as raising the melting point of the formula so it won't simply slide off in hot weather.
Is it food safe?
In Europe there is no E number for Pine Rosin so it can't be added to food but it is certified for use on
"...plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food."
- Commission Regulation EU 10/2011
so food wraps are in keeping with European guidelines regardless of the rosin quality.
In the US the rules are a little tighter - only rosins of grades K and paler
"...may be safely used as the food-contact surface of articles intended for use in producing, manufacturing, packing, processing, preparing, treating, packaging, transporting, or holding food."
- FDA CFR 21 175.300
So as long as you're not using grade A. you're good to go in the US.
The legalities aside some people have pine allergies or sensitivities so if that's true for you any wrap with rosin in it isn't going to be an option for you.
So, which grade do you use?
This was a bit of a no-brainer to be honest, we went with Water White, (every time I type that I think of Breaking Bad...is that just me?) the purest grade of pine rosin.
Although cheaper grades are considered safe for food contact we decided to source the highest quality Rosin for our Oliwrap vegan food wraps. It's not worth compromising quality when it comes to the way we feed ourselves and our children!