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NZFSA Discovers Non-Compliant Result

5 April 2006

NZFSA Discovers Non-Compliant Result

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) has identified a further non-compliant result not picked up prior to reporting results of last year's Food Residues Surveillance Programme.

The correct results were published in spreadsheets on the NZFSA website in October 2005, but the media release accompanying those spreadsheets indicated that only three results exceeded the applicable standard. In fact, four results were above the expected maximum residue level.

"We discovered the fourth result when preparing to give a presentation to our Consumers' Forum", said Dr Paul Dansted, Principal Adviser (Chemicals). "When we discovered this error, we re-checked all the other results but found no further oversights. We work hard to ensure the accuracy of our reporting and apologise for this error in our summary of results."

The additional non-compliant result was for residues of the fungicide imazalil in oranges. The international standard is 5 milligrams of imazalil per kilogram of orange, which we would normally report as 5 mg/kg. What we found, and what is in the spreadsheets on our website, was 6.3 mg/kg.

As is the case with the other three non-complainces, this level of residue does not pose a risk to health. On finding the error, NZFSA recalculated estimates of dietary exposure to this chemical, assuming that all oranges consumed over a lifetime had residues at 6.3 mg/kg. Because total exposure to imazalil is divided between a range of plant crops, even with those unrealistic overestimates built in, the recalculated dietary exposure estimate is well below the World Health Organization's Acceptable Daily Intake.

"We are looking at whether we can improve our systems so that this sort of oversight is less likely in future. '

ENDS

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