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Survey of tinned fruits for tin, lead and arsenic

(December 2015)
 
In 2015 Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) tested canned and bottled fruit products following reports of high levels of metals in some products. The reports, indicated that some cans of imported peaches had levels of lead and tin that were not compliant with Australian food standards.
 
FSANZ’s survey, conducted by an independent laboratory on domestic and imported products, found very small amounts of lead and tin in all products tested. The levels found were all below maximum levels permitted in the Food Standards Code. Arsenic was not found in any products. Overall, there were no public health and safety or compliance issues.
 
These results are consistent with Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources surveillance testing at the border.

What was tested?

FSANZ tested 45 products available through Australian supermarkets and through catering companies.
Why is there tin and lead in products?
 
Small amounts of tin and lead can be found in products as a result of chemical migration from the packaging or from environmental exposure e.g. uptake of lead by fruit trees from the soil.

Are the small amounts of lead and tin found harmful?

No. The levels found in the FSANZ survey were well below the Maximum Level (ML) specified for lead and tin in the Food Standards Code. The MLs for metal contaminants are set to protect public health and safety and as low as practical based on sound production and natural resource management practices.
 
The results of this survey are also consistent with the Australian Total Diet Study (ATDS). which regularly tests Australian foods for levels of metals including lead, arsenic and tin, and has not identified safety concerns for consumers.

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