Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Apeel Food Coating Being Applied To Produce In 2023 -- Demo Of How Food Replicas Made In Japan

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Apeel Food Coating Being Applied To Produce In 2023 -- Demo Of How Food Replicas Made In Japan For Display

Does a video show Apeel coating applied to a cabbage? No, that's not true: The cabbage in the video is not real, and it's not meant to be eaten. The footage shows a way to make food samples for display, and it's from Japan, not the United States.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Instagram on October 21, 2023. It opened:

Wow 😮 this is truly sad 😢 I didn't want to believe this video 🤷🏽‍♀️but I did my own research 🧐 and found that the original source of this video came from the '2024 World 🌎 Tech Foundation Festival' that took place May of 2023 🤔

A female voice in the video said:

Just when you thought our produce was safe. This is ridiculous. This is an experimental test subject of how Bill Gates will be producing the Apeel produce.

This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-11-22 at 9.50.47 AM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed Nov 22 14:50:47 2023 UTC)

The video showed a person holding an item that looked like a cabbage, simultaneously pouring some semitransparent liquid into a bowl of water in front of them. As the liquid turns into a thin layer of some blintz-like material floating on the surface, it gets wrapped around the "cabbage."

Similar videos have been circulating on the internet since 2014 (for example, here), but this specific footage was published for the first time in September 2019 (archived here) on a video licensing platform named ViralHog.

The caption of the original video said:

When the whole family went to Shinmachi shopping street in Gujo Hachiman, Gifu Prefecture on a holiday, the craftsmen first practiced how to make lettuce samples as an example for children.

According to the description, the video had been filmed in Gujo Hachiman, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, days before it was shared with the public.

The town of Gujo Hachiman (also known as just Gujō), located between Kyoto and Nagano, is known for (archived here) food replicas meant to be used as decoration in the windows of food stores and restaurants.

A 2021 version of the same video said nothing about Apeel.

Apeel, mentioned in the post on Instagram, is a reference to Edipeel (archived here) and Organipeel (archived here.) Both are produced by the California-based company Apeel Sciences, not by Japanese manufacturers.

Both food coatings are designed to make fruits and vegetables stay fresh longer. As previously reported by Reuters, they are safe to consume.

Lead Stories previously wrote that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave Apeel at least two grants for a total of over $1 million. But Bill Gates does not own the company nor is he the company's CEO. For the past 11 years, this has been a job done by Appeal's founder, James Rogers, Ph.D.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about Apeel food coatings can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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