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I'd like to try and grow some shiitake mushrooms. I've acquired some fresh logs (birch, not oak, but I hope it will work) and the dowels should arrive soon... and then I hit an unexpected snag with the wax. What kind of wax can I use to seal the plugs?

Around here (Latvia) I can either get generic beeswax or various other (soy, palm) waxes... meant for candle making. The Internet seem to suggest that "food grade soy wax" is a good one, but I can't find anything like that around here. In fact, I can't find anything that would be labeled "food grade wax" (What even is that? Who eats wax?)

  • Would beeswax or candle waxes work?
  • What do I need to look out for when picking the wax?

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Food-grade waxes are often made from plants

Vegetable-derived waxes like Carnauba (classified as E903 additive with the EU references) and Candelilla wax (E902 additive), beeswax (E901), some micro crystalline and paraffin waxes (E905) can be certified for human consumption (food grade wax), and some particularly high grade of waxes are also used in medical applications.

From Our Food Grade Waxes

However, beeswax is also food-grade

Yellow Beeswax, NF SP-6P is one of our flagship yellow beeswaxes and suitable for food, pharmaceutical, personal care, and nutraceutical industries along with hundreds of applications.

From Food Grade Waxes


Food-grade also refers to manufacturing process, where impurities and contaminants are avoided (such as machine oil from machines in the factory).

However, in your case, I don't think it will make much difference (because it won't be next to food as such) and beeswax will be just fine. My mother used to seal homemade jams (in the age when everyone made their own) with standard candlewax and we are still alive without deformities.

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