Food Grade vs Pool Grade Diatomaceous Earth: Understanding the Difference

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a versatile substance with a wide range of uses. From livestock care to pest control, health supplements, and industrial filtering, its applications are abundant. However, it’s important to note that not all DE is created equal. Different grades of diatomaceous earth determine its specific uses and limitations.

Pool Grade and FCC Grade DE

DE is derived from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms. These ancient creatures lived in bodies of water and left behind their skeletal remains, which are now composed of silica, a common substance. Today, silica deposits are mined and used to produce diatomaceous earth.

The treatment process determines whether the diatomaceous earth is Food Chemical Codex Grade (Food Grade) or Pool Grade (also known as filter grade).

Pool Grade diatomaceous earth undergoes a process called calcination. This involves heat treatment to activate it for use in filters. The high temperatures further harden the diatom exoskeletons, making them more effective as filtering agents. However, this process also converts the silicon dioxide in DE into crystalline silica. Since crystalline silica can be hazardous to both humans and animals, Pool/Filter Grade diatomaceous earth should only be used for filtration purposes.

On the other hand, Food Chemical Codex Grade (Food Grade) DE products are typically uncalcined and consist mainly of amorphous silica. Food grade diatomaceous earth contains less than 1% crystalline silica and can be used in animal feed and for insect control. It must also meet specific heavy metal content requirements, such as containing no more than 10mg/kg of arsenic and 10mg/kg of lead, to be classified as “food grade.”

Diatomaceous Earth Filtration

DE filtration has been used in the food and beverage industries for the past 80 years. During World War II, diatomaceous earth was employed to filter potable water for rapid military operations. This technology was later adopted for pool filtering and eventually for drinking water as well. Today, DE filters are favored by food and beverage manufacturers because diatomaceous earth is odorless, tasteless, and chemically inert.

Diatomaceous earth is a porous powder with microscopic openings, similar to tiny sponges. While clear water can pass through these openings without difficulty, particles as small as one to three microns are trapped when attempting to pass through the media. DE filters have internal elements coated with diatomaceous earth, known as “filter cakes.” These filter cakes sieve out insoluble impurities like dirt, dust, algae, and some forms of bacteria. This type of filtration is often referred to as “precoat” filtration, where a layer of DE is applied to a filter element or septum, and the solid separation occurs on this built-up precoat layer of diatomaceous earth.

Shop DE Filter Aids for Water Purity

At Ingredi, we understand that the quality of finished products relies on the base ingredients. Surprisingly, something as simple as water can significantly impact the overall quality and taste of the final product.

That’s why we offer Celatom calcined diatomaceous earth filter aids from EP Minerals in bulk 50-pound bags, which could be precisely what you need for all your brewing and wine-making requirements.

We currently stock the following grades of Celatom Filter White (FW) flux-calcined diatomaceous earth:

  • FW-12
  • FW-14
  • FW-50
  • FW-60
  • FW-70

We also carry Celatom Filter Pink (FP) calcined diatomaceous earth FP-4.

Different applications call for different filter aids, and these particular ones can be used in various industries, including industrial, pharmaceutical, swimming pools, and more. For more information on Celatom filter applications, kindly refer to EP Minerals’ provided details.

At Ingredi, we make it easy to find everything you need for your beer, wine, baking, and more. Visit to explore our range of ingredients!