WHETHER it's added to a refreshing glass or water or used to give bakes a citrusy burst, lemons can add an instant dash of flavour.
But despite being a popular choice of food, it turns out few people actually know what lemon wax is made from – and the grim reality has most certainly left a sour taste in people's mouths.
In Channel 4's 'Food Unwrapped', presenter Kate Quilton travelled to Thailand in a bid to find out exactly what the citrus wax is made from.
And she wasn't expecting to return home with the knowledge that it's formed of a waste substance secreted by bugs…
Kate's co-presenter Matt Tebbutt ventured to factories across the world and learned that the wax on a lemon contains shellac – an ingredient that beauty fans will best know as nail polish.
To learn more about what goes into making Shellac, Kate then travelled to Thailand where her host Tomas took her out into the jungle and offered her a demonstration.
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Cutting off a branch covered in insect nests, he explained that the main ingredient is found in the trees.
The insects, known as lac beetles, spend the entire duration of their life attached to a tree, sucking up its sap.
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Tomas said: "The shining product we make is from pee or waste from the beetles."
In a voiceover, Matt goes on to explain how the the female lac beetle excretes its waste onto tree branches, making a hard protective nest.
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This nest, which is comprised of live and dead beetles, is then scraped off to make shellac, which is why many vegans don’t consider some lemons to be vegan-friendly.
And it's little surprise viewers were left horrified by the little-known revelation.
"Beetle waste and pee that's what wax lemons we buy… yuck," wrote one.
A second penned: "I knew that the wax on lemons is not vegetarian! Will never buy waxed again!"
A third quipped: "Poisoned lemons!"
Meanwhile, a fourth added: ‘Beetle pee + polyethlene : fantastic recipe for the people in hell."
Referencing a scene where Kate could be seen sampling the liquid shellac and telling the factory owner it had a distinct taste, another person wrote: "That’s pretty hilarious. 'Oh it’s got flavour,' then a few minutes later we find out why."
And a further chimed in: "Then she ate the lemon wax that came from beetle pee and poop."
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