National Residue Survey 2019–20 Macadamia

​Publication details

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, December 2020

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Key points

  • In 2019–20, the overall compliance with Australian standards was 100 per cent.
  • The macadamia industry has an unbroken record of 100 percent compliance since program commencement in 1996.
  • Australian macadamia producers continue to demonstrate a high degree of good agricultural practice.
  • The National Residue Survey’s quality management system is ISO 9001:2015 certified.

The National Residue Survey (NRS) operates within the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and since 1992 has been funded by industries through levies and direct contracts.

The NRS is an essential part of Australia’s pesticide and veterinary medicine residue management framework providing verification of good agricultural practice in support of chemical control-of-use legislation and guidelines.

NRS programs monitor the levels of, and associated risks from, pesticides and veterinary medicine residues and contaminants in Australian food products. The programs help to facilitate and encourage ongoing access to domestic and export markets. NRS supports Australia’s primary producers and food processors who provide quality animal, grain and horticulture products which meet both Australian and relevant international standards.

The macadamia residue monitoring program

The macadamia residue monitoring program is a cooperative arrangement between the National Residue Survey, the Australian Macadamia Society and macadamia processing plants. Since 1996, the program has been funded by the NRS component of the statutory levy on macadamia production.

The program involves the testing of Australian macadamia for a range of chemical residues and environmental contaminants, which ensures the macadamia industry can meet quality assurance and market access requirements for domestic and international markets.

Sample collection

Samples are collected at macadamia processing plants in accordance with NRS procedures. The program involves the collection of 100 to 150 samples of macadamia nut from eight processing plants located in northern New South Wales and Queensland.  Once collected, samples are freighted to the contract laboratory for analysis. All data collected is entered into the NRS Information Management System and residue testing reports are automatically generated for the macadamia processing plants.

Analytical screens

Analytical screens are developed in consultation with the industry and take into account chemicals registered in Australia, chemical residue profiles and overseas market requirements.

Macadamia samples are screened for a range of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and environmental contaminants, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Analytical screens for the macadamia program
Analytical screen Chemical group Analytes
Multi-residue pesticide screen Insecticides 94 analytes including acephate, abamectin, bifenthrin, diazinon, malathion, pyrethrins and spinosad
Fungicides 55 analytes including azoxystrobin, boscalid, captan, iprodione, fludioxonil and propiconazole
Herbicides 46 analytes including atrazine, bromacil, clopyralid, isoxaben, norflurazon and simazine
Organochlorines aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endosulfan, endrin, HCB,  HCH, heptachlor, lindane and mirex
Physiological Modifier diphenylamine
Specific herbicides Herbicides amitrole, diclofop, diquat, fenoxaprop, flamprop, fluazifop, glufosinate,  glyphosate, haloxyfop, paraquat and quizalofop
Metals Elements arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and mercury

Results

In 2019–20, a total of 110 macadamia samples were collected for analysis. The results were compared with the Australian standards and where appropriate, relevant international standards.

A summary of Macadamia compliance with Australian standards over the past 10 years is provided in Table 2. The results highlight excellent compliance with Australian standards and demonstrate the strong commitment of the macadamia industry to good agricultural practices. The consistently excellent compliance rates help maintain the reputation and integrity of Australian macadamia nuts in international and domestic markets.

The yearly summary datasets for the macadamia program are located on the department’s website

Table 2. Compliance rates for the past 10 years relative to Australian standards
Years Samples collected Compliance rates (%)
2010 – 11 186 100
2011 – 12 141 100
2012 – 13 92 100
2013 – 14 126 100
2014 – 15 112 100
2015 – 16 135 100
2016 – 17 129 100
2017 – 18 123 100
2018 – 19 128 100
2019 – 20 110 100

Laboratory selection and performance

The NRS contracts laboratories to analyse animal and plant product samples for pesticide/veterinary medicine residues and environmental contaminants.

Laboratories are selected through the Australian Government tendering process on the basis of their proficiency and value for money. Laboratories must be accredited to international standard ISO/IEC 17025 at commencement of testing.

Contracted laboratories are proficiency tested by the NRS to ensure the validity of their analytical results and technical competence.

The NRS has been accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities as a proficiency test provider since July 2005.

International export markets

The NRS maintains information on maximum residue limits (MRLs) that apply for Australia and major export markets for industries supported by the NRS. All analysis results are checked for compliance with Australian standards and relevant international MRLs.

For the Australian MRL standard see legislation.gov.au/Series/F2019L01105 (use the latest version).

For MRL requirements for some international export markets see links at agriculture.gov.au/nrs-databases.

Last reviewed: 22 December 2020
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