Tests applied to surveillance food

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources​ monitors imported food at the border for compliance with Australia's standards.

If you import food, you are legally responsible under the Imported Food Control Act 1992 for meeting the standards that apply to your products to ensure they ar​e safe and suitable for their intended use.

The following tables list the test type and tests that apply to specific food types and the standard against which the test results are assessed.​​​

Where there are no analytical tests the food will still be subject to a visual and label assessment.

[expand all]

Label assessment tests

Food typeHazard/tests appliedStandard
All food

Label and composition

Food Standards Code (FSC) chapters 1 & 2

Visual assessment tests

Food typeHazard/tests appliedStandard
All food

Safe and suitable

Imported Food Control Act 1992 section 3(2)(a)(vii) and 3(2)(b)

Microbiological tests

Food typeHazard/tests appliedStandard
Berries: ready-to-eat that will not undergo further processing, that includes ​a heat treatment that is sufficient to inactivate hepatitis A virus, prior to consumption E.coli

n=5, c=2, m=10, M=100 cfu/g

n = the minimum number of sample units which must be examined from a lot of food
c = the maximum allowable number of defective sample units i.e. that have counts between ‘m’ and ‘M’
m = the acceptable microbiological level in a sample unit
M = the level which when exceeded (i.e. the level is greater than M) in one or more samples would cause the lot to be rejected

Reference: International Commission for the Microbiological Specifications of Foods (ICMSF)—Microorganisms in foods 8.
Cheese in which the growth of Listeria monocytogenes will not occur

Listeria monocytogenes

FSC Standard 1.6.1
n=5, c=0, m=100 cfu/g
Milk and cream concentrated powders including powdered infant formula Salmonella FSC Standard 1.6.1
Tofu, soy bean curd, soy milk curd

Bacillus cereus

n=5, c=1, m=1000, M=10,000 cfu/g

n = the minimum number of sample units which must be examined from a lot of food
c = the maximum allowable number of defective sample units i.e. that have counts between ‘m’ and ‘M’
m = the acceptable microbiological level in a sample unit
M = the level which when exceeded (i.e. the level is greater than M) in one or more samples would cause the lot to be rejected

Reference: International Commission for the Microbiological Specifications of Foods (ICMSF)—Microorganisms in foods 8.
Uncooked slow dry cured ready-to-eat ham

E. coli

Salmonella

Listeria monocytogenes

n = 5, c = 1, m = 3.6/g, M = 9.2/g

n = 5, c = 0, m = not detected in 25g

n = 5, c = 0, m = 100 cfu/g

n = the minimum number of sample units which must be examined from a lot of food
c = the maximum allowable number of defective sample units i.e. that have counts between ‘m’ and ‘M’
m = the acceptable microbiological level in a sample unit
M = the level which when exceeded (i.e. the level is greater than M) in one or more samples would cause the lot to be rejected

Chemical tests

Food typeHazard/tests appliedStandard
  • Fruit: fresh, chilled, frozen or dried
  • Fruit and vegetable juices and concentrates
  • Leguminous vegetables: fresh, chilled, frozen or dried
  • Vegetables: fresh or chilled, uncooked or cooked by steaming or boiling—frozen
Fruit and vegetable residue screen FSC Standard 1.4.2
  • Meat and edible offal
  • Animal fats
Pesticide screen FSC Standard 1.4.2
Fish species used in aquaculture production: fresh, chilled or frozen

Seafood antimicrobial tests - Malachite green 
Fluoroquinolones
Quinolones

FSC Standard 1.4.2
Crustaceans: fresh, chilled or frozen, cooked or raw. From farmed or aquaculture sources only. Test applies to all crustaceans unless a consignment specific government certificate declaring ‘wild caught’, ‘not from farmed or aquaculture sources’ or similar, is provided. Seafood antimicrobial tests – Nitrofurans
Fluoroquinonolones
FSC Standard 1.4.2
Honey

Adulteration with C4 sugars
Moisture content
Reducing sugars

FSC Standard 2.8.2
  • Cereal grains: whole, kibbled, polished, ground, broken, ready-to-eat, in husk or husked
  • Cereal flours and processed cereals that are ready for consumption

Arsenic (total), Lead

FSC Standard 1.4.1
Edible plant oilsErucic acid FSC Standard 1.4.1
Canned and preserved fruitLead FSC Standard 1.4.1
Canned fruitTin FSC Standard 1.4.1

Allergen tests

Food typeHazard/tests appliedStandard

Coconut milk drinks where dairy content is not declared on the label

Dairy allergen tests
Beta-lactoglobulin
Casein (expressed as skim milk powder)
Total milk (expressed as skim milk powder)

FSC Standard 1.2.3

More information for importers

  • For information on how often surveillance food is referred for inspection and testing, see the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.
  • While the tables above identify the tests to be applied to surveillance food, the department may still apply other tests to food based on the most applicable test for the food type.
  • Where an authorised officer has reasonable grounds to believe that food may not comply with the requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (FSC) or may pose a risk to human health, additional tests may be applied as directed.
  • While this page details tests to be applied to surveillance food, most risk food will also be subjected to the surveillance food tests. For more information on the application of surveillance tests to risk food refer to Tests food.
  • Owners/ importers are responsible for nominating a laboratory to perform tests if the food is referred for testing. Information for this process and a list of appointed laboratories can be found under Food testing – information for food importers.
  • The importer is responsible for labelling and the importer is allowed to correct any labelling faults, alter or replace the label prior to booking an imported food inspection. This is not considered illegally dealing with the food.
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