National Residue Survey 2018–19 Macadamia


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NRS 2018-19 Industry brochure: Macadamia PDF 4 1.1 MB
NRS 2018-19 Industry brochure: Macadamia - Chinese PDF 4 291 KB
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Key points

  • In 2018–19, the overall compliance rate against Australian standards was 100 percent.
  • 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 is certified to ISO 9001 Quality Management System.

The National Residue Survey (NRS) is an operational unit within the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, and since 1992 has been funded by industries through levies or contracted by direct funding.

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 mcadamia 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 Australian registered chemicals, chemical residue profiles and overseas market requirements.

Macadamia samples are screened for a range of different insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and environmental contaminants, as outlined 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


Specific herbicides Herbicides amitrole, diclofop, diquat, fenoxaprop, flamprop, fluazifop, glufosinate,  glyphosate, haloxyfop, paraquat and quizalofop
Metals Elements arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and mercury


In 2018–19, a total of 128 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 rates against 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 against Australian standards
Years Samples collected Compliance rates (%)
2009–10 185 100
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

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 a database of maximum residue limits (MRLs) established for Australia and major export markets for industries supported by the NRS. All analysis results are checked for compliance against Australian standards and relevant international MRLs.

For the Australian MRL standard see

For MRL requirements for some international export markets see 

Last reviewed: 8 January 2020
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