Australia’s food composition is safe, FSANZ study

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 29th November 2011

The latest Australia-wide study of chemicals in foods comprised in the Australian diet, released today by Australia’s food regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), has found only low rates of contamination in the foods that are typically consumed by Australians.

The Australian Total Diet Study (ATDS), formerly known as the Australian Market Basket Survey, is Australia’s most comprehensive assessment of consumers’ dietary exposure (intake) to a range of food chemicals including food additives, nutrients, pesticide residues, contaminants and other substances. The survey has been conducted approximately every two years, and this is the 23nd such survey.

Launching the latest study today, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King said that the ATDS investigated agricultural and veterinary chemicals, contaminants and nutrients in 92 foods commonly consumed in the Australian diet.

In total, more than 1,500 samples of food were taken as part of the FSANZ study. The foods were tested as they would be eaten, for example apples were tested without cores and chicken was cooked.

Ms King said, “Estimated dietary exposures to all 214 agricultural and veterinary chemical residues tested, were well below the relevant reference health standards, which is consistent with previous studies.

“The study also detected no Mycotoxins (toxins produced by fungi) in any of the foods analysed. For all contaminants, estimated dietary exposures were also below the relevant reference health standards for all population groups, including people who eat a lot of specific foods,” Ms King said.

The ATDS also provided a general indication of nutrient intake amongst Australians which will inform further studies, such as national nutrition surveys.

Ms King said the study gave FSANZ important information that helps to guide the next ATDS, which is already underway. For example, the 24th ATDS will look at acrylamide in food and issues like chemical migration from food packaging, based on work FSANZ has already done in this area.