The FSSAI through its notification dated 2 September 2020 has asked the Commissioner of Food Safety of all States/UTs and all Central Licensing Authorities not to take any action in case any manufacturer of honey is found using Diatomaceous Earth, when they carry out their routine surveillance sampling and enforcement as was directed by FSSAI previously.
The FSSAI has also drawn attention to its earlier notification dated 31 July 2020 where the FSSAI had pointed out that during the course of one surveillance/enforcement drive, it had been brought to the notice of the FSSAI that Diatomaceous Earth was being used by one of the manufacturers as a processing aid for filtration of honey. In this notification the FSSAI had clarified that this material is not permitted for use as a processing aid in honey. The FSSAI had advised the enforcement agencies to take necessary action for non-conformity of the same as per provisions of the FSS Act 2006.
Now in its new notification dated 2 September 2020 the FSSAI has informed all agencies that the Food Authority is still examining the issue related to the use of Diatomaceous Earth as a processing aid for filtration of honey. So, till the FSSAI takes the final decision on the use or otherwise of Diatomaceous Earth, the FSSAI is granting interim relaxation to the food industry by allowing the use of Diatomaceous Earth as a processing aid for filtration of honey.
The FSSAI has asked the enforcement agencies not to take any action solely on the basis of use of Diatomaceous Earth as a processing aid and they have been advised not to initiate action against any FBO manufacturing honey for the sole use of this processing material. Till a final decision is made on this issue, the earlier directions issued by FSSAI on 31 July 2020 will also be kept in abeyance.
However, the relaxation for use of the Diatomaceous Earth as a processing aid shall not be treated as relaxation for any other notified Standards of honey including the requirement of minimum pollen counts etc. as notified under Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011 as amended from time to time. The relaxation also does not preclude the FSOs/DOs from other routine sampling, surveillance, enforcement etc. in honey.
Source : FSSAI