Diatomaceous Earth

Does Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth Have an Expiration Date?

Red Lake Earth (RLE) is a food chemical codex grade diatomaceous earth product that is registered for use in livestock feed as an anti-caking and flow agent (not to exceed 2% of total diet).

This product does not have an expiration date. As long as it is stored in a cool, dry area, it is good for an indefinite period of time. In fact, Red Lake Earth can even become wet and be used after it is left to dry! Once dry, the product will return to its natural state and continue to work as it did before it became wet.

A date stamp can be found on RLE packaging however this stamp is not an expiration date but rather the day that the product was packaged.

Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth is an all natural product. The age of the product does not affect its ability to function therefore a new bag of RLE will be just as effective as an older bag.

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Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth: What Does Food Chemical Codex Mean?

The term Food Chemical Codex (FCC) refers to a compendium of standards that is used internationally to ensure the quality and purity of food ingredients. The FCC helps manufacturers and consumers in recognizing genuine ingredients and substances and assures the quality of food products. Currently, the United States Pharmacopeia publishes the FCC every two years. The compendium was first published in 1966 by the Institute of Medicine and was acquired by the United States Pharmacopeia in 2006.

FCC standards are recognized in more than 130 countries around the world. In fact, some regulatory authorities and government bodies have incorporated these standards into their laws to help protect the quality of products and ingredients that are produced in or exported to their countries.

US law and FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) regulations refer to FCC standards. Currently, over 200 FDA regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations incorporate the standards set forth in the Food Chemicals Codex compendium.

In Canada, food additives must comply with regulations issued by Health Canada. If no such regulations exist, specifications set by the FCC (Fourth Edition) are to be followed.

Australia and New Zealand’s governing body for such regulations (the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand) recognizes standards set by the FCC (Sixth Edition) as the primary source of identity and purity for substances added to food.

In Brazil, FCC standards are recommended, along with other standards.

In Israel, Public Health Regulations state that those who produce, import, market or store food additives must comply with the requirements in the latest edition of the FCC or in the latest edition of the Compendium of Food Additive Specifications (JECFA).

Products that are labeled Food Chemical Codex Grade have met high standards and are considered safe however, in the case of diatomaceous earth, this term does not suggest that the product is safe or registered for human consumption. Food Chemical Codex Grade diatomaceous earth products may be approved for use as a filtering and processing aid in the food industry, as long as the substance is removed from final goods offered for sale. In the United States, FCC compliant DE products are regulated by each state for use in livestock feed as an anti-caking agent and flow aid (in amounts not to exceed two percent of total diet).

There is also confusion around DE being safe for human consumption due to GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status. Again, with all FCC DE products, GRAS only refers to the acceptance of DE being used as a filtering or processing aid in food. The term GRAS when associated with DE does not refer to human consumption, as some web-sites may indicate.

In order for a DE product to be sold for human consumption it must undergo stringent and lengthy testing and be registered with the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) or CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) for this purpose.

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Diatomaceous Earth

“Pure” Diatomaceous Earth: Fact and Fiction

Any mined material which is composed primarily of the fossilized exoskeletons of diatoms can be defined as a diatomaceous earth. This material can come from a fresh or salt water deposit.

Each deposit is different, not only in the species, shape and age of the diatoms it contains but also in the wide range of other elements present in the material.

It is often believed that the silicon dioxide (SiO2 or amorphous silica) content of a diatomaceous earth product is a measure of its purity however, this is not the case.

Silicon dioxide (Si02 or amorphous silica) is the main element in diatomaceous earth however all diatomaceous earth products, in their natural (raw) state, typically contain 20-35% addition elements other than silica.

Color and formulation also vary between deposits and can be affected by the manufacturing processes. These characteristics are also not a measure of purity.

It is the presence of the diatoms that define a diatomaceous earth and their species, shape and particularly the age of the diatoms that define their ability to function for certain purposes. As well, the way in which the DE is prepared (calcined or non-calcined) also plays an important role in the end products use. For example, diatomaceous earth that is heated to a very high temperature (calcined) can be used only as a filtering aid in swimming pools and should not be consumed or inhaled (due to its high crystalline silica content). Natural diatomaceous earth, on the other hand, is non-calcined. It is not considered harmful and can be ingested by animals.

For more information on the importance of species, shape and age please see Diatoms: The Importance of Shape and Age

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Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth: Is This A Super-Product?

Currently our diatomaceous earth is registered for several purposes throughout Canada and the United States. Our Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth is registered as a feed additive for agricultural use in the U.S. and Canada. Last CrawlTM Insecticide Powder, which is composed of the same Food Chemical Codex Grade diatomaceous earth as Red Lake Earth, is registered in Canada and the United States as a natural insecticide for domestic applications. As well, in Canada, our DE-cide diatomaceous earth product is registered as an insecticide for commercial applications. Beyond these registered uses however, many speculations are being made as to what other exciting benefits DE is really capable of providing!

All across the web, stories and suggestions can be found regarding the use of Diatomaceous Earth for various purposes and while these claims cannot legally be made by producers, it is very interesting to see the results people are experiencing with the use of this natural product.

Here at Absorbent Products Ltd. we are committed to research that will put us on the cutting edge of environmentally friendly technologies and products therefore it was only suiting that we conduct a study on Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth.

Here’s what we found:

Diatomaceous Earth as an Insecticide:

DE is effective in killing barn, garden, grain and household insects such as ants, bedbugs, silverfish, flies, darkling beetles, flour beetles, and other crawling insects.

How to Use DE as an Insecticide:

Diatomaceous Earth can be mixed with an attractant such as a cereal or nut powder, icing sugar, powdered soup mixes, powdered yeast, etc. to attract and encourage the insect to ingest it resulting in a lacerated digestive tract, causing further dehydration. Note: Mix at a rate of 25% to 50% in volume.

For infestations of ants, bedbugs, silverfish and other insect pests inside your home, apply the DE dust behind appliances, cabinets, along baseboards, along edges and underneath carpets and rugs, bed frames, cracks, crevices and other places where insects hide or crawl. Note: Apply at a rate of 70g per 10m2.

For use outdoors, lightly coat areas where ants and other crawling insects are found including ant trails, door frames, entrance ways, perimeter foundations, patios, window frames and window sills. Note: apply at a rate of 70g per 10m2.

For use against house flies in operations where manure accumulation occurs be sure to combine this treatment with good manure management practices (e.g., aeration via proper placement of fans and intake vents, maintenance of watering system equipment).

**DE can control house flies in layer poultry operations by reducing the number of fly larvae occurring in the accumulating manure 5 to 6 weeks after weekly application.

For use in-transit, clean out box cars, ship holds and truck beds prior to transporting grains, then simply apply a light dusting of DE to all walls and floors.

For use in the garden, apply a light dusting of diatomaceous earth to both sides of the plant leaves for effective control of ants, flies and other crawling insects.

PLEASE NOTE: Avoid dusting flowers and other areas where bees and beneficial insects may land, as diatomaceous earth has the potential to negatively impact most insects that come in contact with it. As well, for food plant and other industrial use, avoid contamination of food in the application and storage of the product. Do not use diatomaceous earth on food contact surfaces. When using DE for garden use, wash all produce thoroughly before using.

For more information and application rates for our natural insecticide, please see:
APL’s Diatomaceous Earth Now Approved in Canada As Natural Insecticide

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Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth in Animal Feed: What Is an Anti-Caking Agent and Flow Aid?

While individuals have found many other uses for Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth, the product it is currently only registered for use as a pelleting aid, anti-caking agent and flow agent in livestock feed (not to exceed 2% of the total diet).

What this means is that Red Lake Earth improves the flowability and mixability of feed.

In a silo, wet grain, corn and other types of feed will often stick together creating clumps. Adding Red Lake Earth helps to dry the feed out, break it up and keep it from sticking in the silo. This is the function of an anti-caking agent or flow aid.

As a pelleting aid, Red Lake Earth helps with the formation and the quality of pellets. More specifically, when mixed in feed, the product helps to lubricate grain that is being prepared in to pellets. The RLE helps the grain to slide easily through the die plate, which compresses the grain. As well, the product creates a better pellet by helping it stick together.

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Diatomaceous Earth

Diatoms: The Importance of Shape and Age

Each deposit of diatomaceous earth is different. They possess varying blends of pure diatomaceous earth combined with other natural clays. The diatoms in each deposit contain different amounts of silica, depending on the age of the deposit, and different deposits may even contain a different species of diatom all together.

The species of diatom found in a deposit is dependant upon the age and paleo-environment of the deposit. In turn, the shape of a diatom is determined by its species.

The shape of the diatoms contained in a deposit has not been proven to affect their functionality when it comes to the absorption of liquids, however certain applications, such as that for slugs and snails, do work best when a particular shaped diatom is used. For example, in the case of slugs and snails large, spiny diatoms work best to lacerate the outer shell of the insect.

The deposit used for Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth is from the Miocene age and, like many other deposits throughout British Columbia from this same time period, Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth contains a species of diatom known as Melosira granulata. These diatoms are approximately 12 to 13 million years old and are a small globular shape.

A deposit containing diatoms from this age can provide many more benefits than an older deposit, for example Eocene age diatoms (that are approximately 40 to 50 millions year old) due to the fact that older diatoms recrystallize and their small pores become filled with silica, reducing their ability to absorb fluids.

Diatomaceous Earth

What Is the Difference Between Brown and White Diatomaceous Earth?

Each deposit of diatomaceous earth is different.

Currently, diatomaceous earth can be classified into the following major categories – food grade, feed grade and pool grade. Each category has its own set of specifications that must be met.

While each diatomaceous earth product on the market will fall into one (or two, in the case that the product meets both food and feed grade specifications) of these categories, each source of DE will be slightly different in its makeup.

For example, the difference between white DE and brown (or brownish-grey) DE (such as Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth) is that darker colored diatomaceous earth contains calcium montmorillonite (also known as calcium bentonite), a clay that occurs naturally in the deposit. White DE, on the other hand, contains only diatomaceous earth, along with other trace amounts of additional elements.

Many people are curious as to what benefits might be provided by each different source of diatomaceous earth however, not a lot of scientific testing has been done in order to compare these different sources. In recent tests conducted by the lab at Absorbent Products Ltd., the effectiveness of Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth and a white DE product were compared when used as a natural insecticide. In these tests, no difference in overall effectiveness was found between the two sources.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth for Humans: What You Don’t Know

Diatomaceous earth is quickly gaining popularity as a health food product for human consumption and many people do experience various positive results.

However, there are currently NO food grade diatomaceous earth products that are registered with the appropriate organizations to be sold as a health product for human consumption (although it may appear otherwise). This is due to the fact that there has not been enough testing done on the product to prove that it is effective or safe.

Testing, especially for long-term effects, is very costly and companies have been unable to provide the necessary scientific research requirements to attain certification for distribution as a health product.

There are many sites out there that provide long lists of the benefits that food grade diatomaceous earth can provide to humans and it may seem as though they have scientific proof and are licensed to sell their DE as a health product however be aware of the fine print.

On any site claiming human health benefits and selling diatomaceous earth for the purpose of human consumption you will find a disclaimer that points out that the product is not actually approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is only technically considered to be unofficial information for research purposes.

This is not to say that diatomaceous earth does not provide these health benefits. In fact, with enough funding and scientific research diatomaceous earth could possibly be approved for human consumption and prove to be very helpful in maintaining the health of both humans and animals.

Please use your own discretion and utilize various research methods when choosing to consume food grade diatomaceous earth. Do not be fooled by sites that claim to have a product that is registered for human consumption, as the information they provide is not scientific but rather a collection of testimonials.

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Diatomaceous Earth

Food Chemical Codex Grade (Food Grade) vs. Pool Grade Diatomaceous Earth: The DL on DE

Whether it be for use with livestock, as pest control or as a natural health supplement for humans, the buzz surrounding DE is undeniable. However, there is a lot of confusion regarding the various types of diatomaceous earth and what they can and cannot be used for. So here it is…the ‘down low’ on DE!

What is the difference between food chemical codex grade (food grade) and feed grade diatomaceous earth?

Although these two types are very similar there is one very important distinction between them. Food Chemical Codex Grade (commonly referred to as “Food Grade”) DE must meet certain specifications regarding heavy metal content. To be considered Food Grade, the diatomaceous earth must not contain more than 10mg/kg of arsenic and no more than 10mg/kg of lead.

What is the difference between food chemical codex grade (food grade) and pool grade DE?

The difference here lies in the way that each type of DE is treated. Pool Grade DE is calcined, meaning that is treated with very high heat. This turns the silicon dioxide that is present in the DE into crystalline silica. Pool Grade diatomaceous earth, and most other calcined DE products, contain high concentrations of crystalline silica. In fact, some can range from 60 – 70% crystalline silica.

Crystalline silica is very dangerous and can be harmful to the health of humans and animals. For this reason, Pool Grade diatomaceous earth should NOT be used for any purpose other than filtration.

Most Food Chemical Codex Grade (Food Grade) diatomaceous earth products, on the other hand, are not calcined and are composed largely of amorphous silica. Food Chemical Codex Grade (Food Grade) DE products contain less than 1% crystalline silica and can be used in animal feed and for insect control. Food Grade diatomaceous earth, such as Red Lake Earth, unlike pool grade DE, is safe to be used around humans and animals.

What’s the difference between grey and white diatomaceous earth?

DE varies in color due to the fact that each deposit is composed of a unique makeup. The reason that Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth is brownish-grey in color is that, in addition to diatomaceous earth, this deposit is also enhanced with naturally occurring minerals such as montmorillonite (also known as calcium bentonite).

White DE products and grey/brown DE products will function the same. What is most important is that the diatomaceous earth is Food Chemical Codex Grade (Food Grade) and therefore safe to use around humans and animals.

Can pool grade DE be used for anything other than filtration?

Although Pool Grade diatomaceous earth is often cheaper and easier to come by, due to its high crystalline silica content, Pool Grade diatomaceous earth should not be used for anything other than filtration.

ONLY Food Chemical Codex Grade (Food Grade) diatomaceous earth is safe to use around humans and animals.

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Diatomaceous Earth

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Animals?

Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth is registered as a feed additive for use in livestock feed as an anti-caking agent and pelleting aid. However, food grade diatomaceous earth is also known to work well as a natural insecticide. DE works to kill pests such as bed bugs, mites, fleas, ticks and many other crawling insects by lacerating their exoskeletons and dehydrating them.

The reason that diatomaceous earth is safe for animals to ingest but also works so well to kill insects has to do with the fact that it works as an abrasive only at a microscopic level. DE particles are very tiny and their razor-sharp edges only function to lacerate surfaces at a microscopic level. Because insects are also small, the diatomaceous earth can easily cut their exoskeletons. The movement of their bodies across the DE, as well as their waxy exoskeletons, creates conditions in which the DE rubs against their bodies and lacerates their outer shells. A large, strong surface, on the other hand, such as the tissue of the intestines and stomach are not affected by the sharp edges of the diatomaceous earth, as the particles are too tiny to cause any damage.

So, while food grade DE has the ability to kill insects due to the razor-sharp edges of its particles, it is completely safe for animals to consume.