Current Surveillance Activities in New Zealand
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) has published the results of the Food Residue Surveillance Program (FRSP) which investigated levels of chemical residues in locally-produced and imported fresh unwashed produce. The 2010 program targeted crops prone to exceeding the maximum residue limit (MRL) for agricultural chemicals, such as: bananas, bok choi, broccoli, cucumbers, grapes, nectarines, oranges and wheat. Overall, the NZFSA found no health or food safety concerns from these crops. However, 10 of the 23 Bok choi samples were found to contain the fungicide chlorothalonil, or the insecticide thiamethoxam, over the MRL. Further investigation found that growers were classifying bok choi as a ‘brassica’, when bok choi should be classified as a ‘leafy vegetable’ for the purposes of residue monitoring. While the NZFSA safety assessment concluded that an average-sized 70 kg adult could consume 1.7 kgs of bok choi daily for a lifetime with no adverse health effects, NZFSA are continuing to work with growers to inform them of the correct limits of agricultural chemicals for bok choi. Further information can be found at: http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/publications/media-releases/2010/2010-07-26-frsp-results.htm
The NZFSA has also developed a Salmonella Risk Management Strategy in an effort to reduce and prevent the frequency of Salmonella infections. As part of the strategy, NZFSA has utilised ten years (2000-09) of salmonellosis notification data and reporteds almonellosis outbreaks, to study the contributing factors of human salmonellosis. The study compared salmonellosis with other enteric diseases for nine risk factors. Risk factor analysis compared cases of Salmonellosis with other enteric disease investigated factors including overseas travel, consumption of food from food premise, consumption of untreated drinking water and contact with sick animals. This analysis found Salmonella infections in New Zealand are commonly foodborne. The attribution study also analysed the prevalence of Salmonella serotypes over the 10 years, including case-case analyses based on these serotypes to quantify the proportion of Salmonella genotypes (particularly non-typhoid salmonellosis) attributable to specific foods. The data did not allow quantitative attribution of proportions of non-typhoid salmonellosis to specific foods.
http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/science/research-projects/final-sis-salmonellosis-attribution-epidemiological-html.htm & http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/science/research-projects/FW10008-Salmonella-attribution.pdf