FSSAI has provided interim relief to Food Business Operators (FBOs) involved in production and manufacturing of honey by allowing the use of Diatomaceous Earth as a processing aid for filtration of honey.

Earlier, the FSSAI had ordered in July that Diatomaceous Earth was prohibited as processing aid.

Now the FSSAI has said that ‘interim relaxation’ was being given to the industry to use Diatomaceous Earth as a processing aid, as the matter was being examined by the FSSAI’s expert committee and until a decision was arrived at, the FBOs could use the said processing aid.

“Diatomaceous earth has something of a miracle-cure reputation and it certainly is effective against many pests. It’s not a poison, but kills by scoring an insect’s hide as it crawls over the powder.”

According to an apiculture expert “the first and most obvious advantage bees have is that they are flying insects. For DE to take effect, an insect has to crawl through it. Because bees are mainly airborne, they are far less likely to come into contact with DE than other pests, such as ants, cockroaches, and bed bugs”. “So applying on soil, concrete, and other areas level to the ground shouldn’t be a problem. It’s also good to apply to plants as long as some precautions are followed” he added.

The apex regulator has advised the state food safety authorities that no enforcement action solely on basis of use of the said material as processing aid may be initiated against any FBO manufacturing honey and till then the direction issued on July 31, 2020, was kept in abeyance. However, the relaxation for usage of the Diatomaceous Earth should not be treated as any relaxation of the notified standards of honey including the requirement of minimum pollen counts and so on, as notified under the FSS (Food Products Standards and Food Additives Regulations), 2011, and through various amendments, the order said.

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