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Standard 1.4.1 Food Standards as amended, taking into account amendments up to Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (Up to Amendment No. 107)
Administered by: Health
Registered 04 Nov 2009
Start Date 30 Apr 2009
End Date 17 Jun 2009
Date of repeal 01 Mar 2016
Repealed by Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code - Standard 5.1.1 - Revocation and Transitional Provisions - 2014 revision

Standard 1.4.1

 

Contaminants and Natural Toxicants

 

 

Purpose

 

This Standard sets out the maximum levels (MLs) of specified metal and non-metal contaminants and natural toxicants in nominated foods.  As a general principle, regardless of whether or not a ML exists, the levels of contaminants and natural toxicants in all foods should be kept As Low As Reasonably Achievable (the ALARA principle).

 

A ML has been established only where it serves an effective risk management function and only for those foods which provide a significant contribution to the total dietary exposure.  Food not listed in this Standard may contain low levels of contaminants or natural toxicants.   However, MLs have not been assigned to these foods because they present a low public health risk.  The general provisions of the Food Acts relating to the availability of safe foods apply to all foods. 

 

MLs have been set at levels that are consistent with public health and safety and which are reasonably achievable from sound production and natural resource management practices.  Consideration has also been given to Australia’s and New Zealand’s international trade obligations under the World Trade Organization’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement and Technical Barrier to Trade Agreement. 

 

In order to assist both enforcement agencies and industry to maintain contaminant levels at the lowest achievable levels, Generally Expected Levels (GELs), have been established to complement the use of MLs.  GELs, while not legally enforceable, provide a benchmark against which to measure contaminant levels in foods.  The list of GELS is provided in the User Guide – Generally Expected Levels (GELs) for Metal Contaminants.  

 

Table of Provisions

 

1            Interpretation

2            Maximum levels of metal contaminants in food

3            Maximum levels of non-metal contaminants in food

4            Maximum levels of natural toxicants from the addition of flavouring substances to food

5            Maximum levels of other natural toxicants in food

6            Sampling plan for mercury in fish and fish products etc.

 

Clauses

 

1            Interpretation

 

(1)          In this Standard –

 

arsenic is considered to be a metal.

 


maximum level (ML) means the maximum level of a specified contaminant, or specified natural toxicant, which is permitted to be present in a nominated food expressed, unless otherwise specified, in milligrams of the contaminant or the natural toxicant per kilogram of the food (mg/kg).

 

(2)          Where food contains a metal and any other chemical species of that metal, all chemical species of that metal must be expressed as the metal.

 

(3)          The maximum level must be calculated for the edible content of the food that is ordinarily consumed.

 

(4)          The level for a food which is dried, dehydrated or concentrated is to be calculated on the basis of the mass of the food, or the mass of the ingredients of the food, prior to drying, dehydration or concentration determined from one or more of the following –

 

(a)          the manufacturer’s analysis of the food; and

(b)          calculation from actual or average quantity in water in the ingredients used; and

(c)          generally accepted data.

 

(5)          The level for seaweed (edible kelp) whether dried, dehydrated, concentrated or not is to be calculated with respect to the mass of the seaweed at 85% hydration.

 

(6)          The prescribed formula for the purposes of this Standard is –

 

Formula

 

ML1 = (MLA x Total A) + (MLB x Total B) + CF x (Total – (Total A + Total B)

                     Total                       Total                                        Total

 

In this formula –

 

ML1 = ML which applies to the contaminant or natural toxicant in the mixed food

MLA = ML for contaminant or natural toxicant in food A

MLB = ML for contaminant or natural toxicant in food B

Total = total weight of mixed food

Total A = total weight of food A

Total B = total weight of food B

CF = Background Calculation Factor where, in the case of –

 

(a)          lead, CF = 0.01 mg/kg;  and

(b)          cadmium, CF = 0.005 mg/kg;  and

(c)          other contaminants, CF = 0.


Editorial note:

 

It is recognised both lead and cadmium are ubiquitous in the environment and occur at low levels in foods other than those listed in the Standard.  Therefore, in order to assist with the enforcement of MLs in mixed foods which may contain these contaminants, the calculation requires the inclusion of a representative contaminant level for those foods that do not have an allocated ML.  In the past, an ML was set for ‘all other foods’.  As the category for ‘all other foods’ was discontinued, a representative level is selected for the contaminants cadmium and lead.  These levels are set at the limit of quantification (LOQ), and are 0.01 mg/kg for lead and 0.005 mg/kg for cadmium.  These LOQs constitute CF in the prescribed formula.  These selected LOQs are consistent with those published in the Australian Market Basket Survey (1996).

 

It is acknowledged that the LOQ may change with time as analytical techniques became more sensitive.  The Standard will be reviewed periodically in respect to this issue.

 

The calculation for mixed food for all other contaminants with an ML will assume that the contributing commodity, e.g. peanuts in peanut sauce, contains all of the contaminant.

 

2            Maximum levels of metal contaminants in food

 

(1)          In this clause –

 

food means the food or class of foods listed in unbolded type in column 1 of the Table to this clause.

 

metal contaminant means a substance listed in bold type in column 1 of the Table to this clause and includes compounds of a metal.

 

(2)          The maximum levels for metal contaminants in food are listed in column 2 of the Table to this clause, expressed in mg/kg, unless otherwise specified.

 

(3)          Where a mixed food contains food or class of foods listed in unbolded type in column 1 of the Table to this clause, the proportion of the metal contaminant permitted to be present in the mixed food (ML1) is calculated in accordance with the formula prescribed in subclause 1(6).

 

Table to clause 2

 


Column 1

Column 2

Arsenic (total)

 

Cereals

1

 

 

Arsenic (inorganic)

 

Crustacea

2

Fish

2

Molluscs

1

Seaweed (edible kelp)

1


Table to clause 2 (continued)

 


Column 1

Column 2

Cadmium

 

Chocolate and cocoa products

0.5

Kidney of cattle, sheep and pig

2.5

Leafy vegetables (as specified in Schedule 4 to Standard 1.4.2)

0.1

Liver of cattle, sheep and pig

1.25

Meat of cattle, sheep and pig (excluding offal)

0.05

Molluscs (excluding dredge/bluff oysters and queen scallops)

2

Peanuts

0.5

Rice

0.1

Root and tuber vegetables (as specified in Schedule 4 to Standard 1.4.2)

0.1

Wheat

0.1

 

 

Lead

 

Brassicas

0.3

Cereals, Pulses and Legumes

0.2

Edible offal of cattle, sheep, pig and poultry

0.5

Fish

0.5

Fruit

0.1

Infant formulae

0.02

Meat of cattle, sheep, pig and poultry (excluding offal)

0.1

Molluscs

2

Vegetables (except brassicas)

0. 1

 

 

Mercury

 

Crustacea

mean level of 0.5*

Fish (as specified in Schedule 4 to Standard 1.4.2) and fish products, excluding gemfish, billfish (including marlin), southern bluefin tuna, barramundi, ling, orange roughy, rays and all species of shark

mean level of 0.5*

Gemfish, billfish (including marlin), southern bluefin tuna, barramundi, ling, orange roughy, rays and all species of shark

mean level of 1*

Fish for which insufficient samples are available to analyse in accordance with clause (6)

1

Molluscs

mean level of 0.5*

 

 

Tin

 

All canned foods

250

 

 

* A reference to a mean level in the Table to clause 2 in this Standard is to the mean level of mercury in the prescribed number of sample units as described in clause 6 of this Standard.

 

3            Maximum levels of non-metal contaminants in food

 

(1)          In this clause –

 

ergot means the sclerotium or dormant winter form of the fungus, Claviceps purpuria.

 

food means the food or class of foods listed in unbolded type in column 1 of the Table to this clause.

 


MU means the unit of measure described in Recommended procedures for examination of seawater and shellfish, Irwin N. (ed.) 4th Ed. 1970, American Public Health Association Inc.

 

non-metal contaminant means a substance listed in bold type in column 1 of the Table to this clause.

 

(2)          The maximum levels for non-metal contaminants in food are listed in column 2 of the Table to this clause, expressed in mg/kg, unless otherwise specified.

 

(3)          Where a mixed food contains food or class of foods listed in unbolded type in column 1 of the Table to this clause, the proportion of the non-metal contaminant permitted to be present in the mixed food (ML1) is calculated in accordance with the formula prescribed in subclause 1(6).

 

Table to clause 3

 

Column 1

Column 2

Acrylonitrile

 

All food

0.02

 

 

Aflatoxin

 

Peanuts

0.015

Tree nuts (as specified in Schedule 4 to Standard 1.4.2

0.015

 

 

Amnesic shellfish poisons (Domoic acid equivalent)

 

Bivalve molluscs

20

 

 

3-chloro-1,2-propanediol

 

Soy sauce and oyster sauce

0.2

calculated on a 40% dry matter content

 

 

Diarrhetic shellfish poisons (Okadaic acid equivalent)

 

Bivalve molluscs

0.2

 

 

1,3-dichloro-2-propanol

 

Soy sauce and oyster sauce

0.005

calculated on a 40% dry matter content

 

 

Ergot

 

Cereal grains

500

 

 

Methanol

 

Red wine, white wine and fortified wine

3 g of methanol per litre of ethanol

Whisky, Rum, Gin and Vodka

0.4 g of methanol per litre of ethanol

Other spirits, fruit wine, vegetable wine and mead

8 g of methanol per litre of ethanol

 

 

Neurotoxic shellfish poisons

 

Bivalve molluscs

200 MU/kg

 

 


Table to clause 3 (continued)

 

Column 1

Column 2

Paralytic shellfish poisons (Saxitoxin equivalent)

 

Bivalve molluscs

0.8

 

 

Phomopsins

 

Lupin seeds and the products of lupin seeds

0.005

 

 

Polychlorinated biphenyls, total

 

Mammalian fat

0.2

Poultry fat

0.2

Milk and milk products

0.2

Eggs

0.2

Fish

0.5

 

 

Vinyl chloride

 

All food

0.01

 

 

 

4            Maximum levels of natural toxicants from the addition of flavouring substances to food

 

(1)          In this clause –

 

food means the food or class of foods listed in unbolded type in column 1 of the Table to this clause.

 

natural toxicant from the addition of a flavouring substance means a substance listed in bold type in column 1 of the Table to this clause.

 

(2)          The maximum levels for natural toxicants from the addition of a flavouring substance in food are listed in column 2 of the Table to this clause, expressed in mg/kg, unless otherwise specified.

(3)          Where a mixed food contains food or class of foods listed in unbolded type in column 1 of the Table to this clause, the proportion of the natural toxicant from the addition of a flavouring substance permitted to be present in the mixed food (ML1) is calculated in accordance with the formula prescribed in subclause 1(6).

 

Table to clause 4

 

Column 1

Column 2

Agaric acid

 

Food containing mushrooms

100

Alcoholic beverages

100

 

 

Aloin

 

Alcoholic beverages

50

 

 

Berberine

 

Alcoholic beverages

10

 

 


Table to clause 4 (continued)

 

Column 1

Column 2

Coumarin

 

Alcoholic beverages

10

 

 

Hydrocyanic acid, total

 

Confectionery

25

Stone fruit juices

5

Marzipan

50

Alcoholic beverages

1 per 1% alcohol content

 

 

Hypericine

 

Alcoholic beverages

2

 

 

Pulegone

 

Confectionery

350

Beverages

250

 

 

Quassine

 

Alcoholic beverages

50

 

 

Quinine

 

Mixed alcoholic drinks not elsewhere classified

300

Tonic drinks, bitter drinks and quinine drinks

100

Wine based drinks and reduced alcohol wines

300

 

 

Safrole

 

Food containing mace and nutmeg

15

Meat products

10

Alcoholic beverages

5

 

 

Santonin

 

Alcoholic beverages

1

 

 

Sparteine

 

Alcoholic beverages

5

 

 

Thujones (alpha and beta)

 

Sage stuffing

250

Bitters

35

Sage flavoured foods

25

Alcoholic beverages

10

 

 

 

5            Maximum levels of other natural toxicants in food

 

(1)          In this clause –

 

food means the food or class of foods listed in unbolded type in column 1 of the Table to this clause.

 


hydrocyanic acid, total means all hydrocyanic acid including hydrocyanic acid evolved from linamarin, lotaustralin, acetone cyanohydrin or butanone cyanohydrin during or following enzyme hydrolysis or acid hydrolysis, expressed as milligrams of hydrocyanic acid per kilogram of ready-to-eat cassava chips.

 

natural toxicant means a substance listed in bolded type in column 1 of the Table to this clause.

 

ready-to-eat cassava chips means the product containing sweet cassava that is represented as ready for immediate consumption with no further preparation required including crisps, crackers or ‘vege’ crackers.

 

(2)          The maximum levels for natural toxicants in food are listed in column 2 of the Table to this clause, expressed in mg/kg, unless otherwise specified.

 

(3)          Where a mixed food contains food or class of foods listed in unbolded type in column 1 of the Table to this clause, the proportion of the natural toxicants permitted to be present in the mixed food (ML1) is calculated in accordance with the formula prescribed in subclause 1(6).

 

(4)          Subclause 1(2) of Standard 1.1.1 does not apply to ready-to-eat cassava chips for the purposes of the Table to clause 5.

 

Table to clause 5

 

Column 1

Column 2

Erucic acid

 

Edible oils

20 g/kg

 

 

Hydrocyanic acid, total

 

Ready-to-eat cassava chips

10 mg/kg

 

 

Lupin alkaloids

 

Lupin flour, lupin kernel flour, lupin kernel meal and lupin hulls

200

 

 

 

6            Sampling plan for mercury in fish, fish products, crustacea and molluscs

 

(1)          The methods specified in this clause are the prescribed methods for the sampling for analysis of mercury in fish, fish products, crustacea and molluscs.

(2)          For the purposes of this sampling plan –

 

(a)          A sample must consist of a prescribed number of sample units, and a sample unit must consist of a quantity, taken from the edible portions of the fish, fish products, crustacea or molluscs, sufficient for the purposes of analysis.

(b)          In the lot under investigation, the number of random sample units must be as detailed in paragraphs 6(3)(a) or 6(3)(b) of this Standard.


(c)          In the case of samplings where the prescribed number of sample units are not available, 5 sample units must be taken.

 

(3)          The number of random sample units to be taken for the purposes of analysis is as follows –

 

(a)          fish, fish products, including packaged fish –

 

(i)           lots up to and including 5 tonnes ... sample units from 10 fish, or 10 packages; or

(ii)          lots over 5 tonnes, up to 10 tonnes ... sample units from 15 fish, or 15 packages; or

(iii)          lots over 10 tonnes, up to 30 tonnes ... sample units from 20 fish, or 20 packages; or

(iv)         lots over 30 tonnes, up to 100 tonnes ... sample units from 25 fish, or 25 packages; or

(v)          lots over 100 tonnes, up to 200 tonnes ... sample units from 30 fish, or 30 packages; or

(vi)         lots over 200 tonnes ... sample units from 40 fish, or 40 packages.

 

(b)          crustacea, and molluscs, including packaged crustacea and molluscs –

 

(i)           lots up to and including 1 tonne ... 10 sample units, or 10 packages; or

(ii)          lots over 1 tonnes, up to 5 tonnes ... 15 sample units, or 15 packages; or

(iii)          lots over 5 tonnes, up to 30 tonnes ... 20 sample units, or 20 packages; or

(iv)         lots over 30 tonnes, up to 100 tonnes ... 25 sample units, or 25 packages; or

(v)          lots over 100 tonnes ... 30 sample units, or 30 packages.

 

(4)          Interpretation of the Analysis –

 

(a)          Samples with 10 or more sample units –

 

(i)           if the concentration of mercury in any of the sample units is greater than 1.0 mg/kg in the case of gemfish, billfish (including marlin), southern bluefin tuna, barramundi, ling, orange roughy, rays and all species of shark, or is greater than 0.5 mg/kg in the case of crustacea, molluscs and other fish which can be sampled in accordance with this clause the overall mean of the sample units should be examined; or

(ii)          if the overall mean of the lot is less than or equal to 1.0 mg/kg in the case of gemfish, billfish (including marlin), southern bluefin tuna, barramundi, ling, orange roughy, rays and all species of shark, or is less than or equal to 0.5 mg/kg in the case of crustacea, molluscs, and other fish which can be sampled in accordance with this clause and there are no individual sample units within the lot having a mercury concentration exceeding 1.5 mg/kg, the lot must be reported as complying with the standard.


(b)          Samples with 5 sample units –

 

(i)           if the overall concentration of mercury in the sample is less than or equal to 1.0 mg/kg in the case of gemfish, billfish (including marlin), southern bluefin tuna, barramundi, ling, orange roughy, rays and all species of shark, or is less than or equal to 0.5 mg/kg in the case of crustacea, molluscs and other fish which can be sampled in accordance with this clause and minced fish products, the lot must be reported as complying with the standard.

(c)          Notwithstanding subclause 1(4), the mercury content of dried or partially dried fish must be calculated on an 80% moisture basis.