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Monitoring the safety of the food supply

FSANZ and other Australian and New Zealand government agencies continuously monitor the food supply to ensure it is safe, and that foods comply with standards for microbiological contaminants, pesticide residue limits and chemical contamination. FSANZ also monitors nutrients in the Australian food supply, compiling the results in databases available to the public.

One way FSANZ monitors the safety of the food supply is through the Implementation Subcommittee for Food Regulation (ISFR). ISFR comprises representatives from food regulation agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand. View completed ISFR surveys

FSANZ also collects food surveillance data, including the results of general compliance testing and targeted surveys conducted in jurisdictions from public health units across Australia and New Zealand. FSANZ publishes surveys through Food Surveillance News email alerts.

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Total diet studies

Another way FSANZ monitors Australia’s food supply is through the Australian Total Diet Study (ATDS).

The ATDS, formerly known as the Australian Market Basket Survey (AMBS), looks at consumers’ dietary exposure to a range of pesticide residues, contaminants and other substances found in food. View completed ATDS surveys. New Zealand undertakes a similar survey known as the New Zealand Total Diet Study.

Other FSANZ surveys

FSANZ may also undertake surveys as part of our work on the Code, for example when we develop food additive standards or in response to emerging issues and national food incidents.

These might be food or consumer behaviour surveys. They are undertaken as required and as resources permit.

​​Trans-Tasman collaboration

FSANZ works with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), on a range of surveillance, monitoring and research activities, including some of those on the 2012-15 ISFR Coordinated Food Survey Plan.

In recent years the MPI has supported a number of collaborative surveys of significance to both countries through its Food Safety Science Programme, including a survey of caffeine in guarana-containing foods and a survey on the cyanogenic glycoside content of a range of plant-based foods​.

Currently, FSANZ and the MPI are collaborating on several projects including a survey to investigate the migration of chemicals (phthalates, printing inks and mineral oils) from food contact materials (FCMs) to food for sale in New Zealand; analytical surveys on the food processing chemicals furan and acrylamide; a study on pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) – a group of naturally occurring toxins that are found in numerous plant species from around the world, with a focus on honey; and validation studies for predicting the growth of L. monocytogenes in ready-to-eat fermented milk products.

Surveillance and monitoring undertaken by other Australian government agencies

Other Australian food regulatory agencies undertake regular monitoring activities that may inform FSANZ’s standards setting process.
 
For example, the Department of Agriculture conducts the National Residue Survey (NRS). In this survey, food for export is tested for residues of agriculture and veterinary chemicals and environmental contaminants.
 
The Department also administers the Imported Food Inspection Scheme (IFIS). The IFIS monitors food imported into Australia to ensure it meets Australian requirements for public health and safety and is compliant with the Code. Read more about imported food.
 
Occasionally, state and territory governments undertake targeted surveys of food to ensure it is safe and complies with food standards.
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