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First results for Total Diet Survey released

21 November 2003
First results for Total Diet Survey released

Results are in for the first round of tests undertaken on foods for the New Zealand Total Diet Survey (NZTDS).

The foods were collected from supermarkets and shops in Auckland, Napier, Christchurch and Dunedin in July and August. They were then sent to ESR in Christchurch where they were prepared, as they would normally be consumed, before being sent for testing for chemical residues, contaminants and selected nutrients.

NZTDS Project Leader Cherie Flynn says there are no surprises in the results.

“The results so far are as we expected them to be. This is the first quarter to be completed. The other three will be completed over the next nine months,” Mrs Flynn said.

“While the survey is not intended to be a compliance survey, any issues of non-compliance with allowable limits for residues or contaminants will be looked at. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority is currently piloting a Food Residue Monitoring Programme. It is expected that where information from the Total Diet Survey indicates foods exceed maximum limits they will be considered for inclusion in that programme once it is up and running,” Mrs Flynn said.

Foods tested for the Survey have been split into two groups, those from the regions and those available nationally. The regional foods – 58 of them - were the first to be tested. The 63 national foods will be tested in the next quarter. Each food item will be tested twice at different times of the year to allow for seasonal variation. The foods were chosen to represent the diets of average New Zealanders in different age-sex groups.

Mrs Flynn says the Survey is progressing well.

“It is working very well. We are very pleased with the way it has been progressing. We’ve had no major complications and all systems seem to be working well,” Mrs Flynn said.

Test results will be released regularly throughout the analysis period with a final report expected in 2005. The results will be used to assess dietary exposure to chemical residues, contaminants and selected nutrients.

“A number of groups and individuals are interested in these results so we have made a commitment to release them as soon as they are available,” Mrs Flynn said.

The report is available on NZFSA’s website www.nzfsa.govt.nz.

Ends

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