Plant product residue monitoring is conducted as part of the National Residue Survey (NRS) by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, through a grains residue testing program and three separate horticulture product residue testing programs.
Industry participation in these programs is voluntary and based on export and domestic market access and quality assurance objectives.
Outputs of NRS plant product residue monitoring include:
- provision of independent, authoritative and technically-sound residue data, reports and advice on Australian grain and horticultural products
- provision of residue monitoring data to support the specific market access requirements of participating industries
- reports of contraventions to the relevant state/territory government regulatory authorities within agreed timeframes
- 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
- coordination of the Australian Grains Industry Post Harvest Chemical Usage Recommendations and Outturn Tolerances document which details the industry-agreed residue tolerances for domestic and overseas markets.
All plant product residue monitoring programs are designed, operated and reviewed within agreed budgets by the NRS in consultation with peak industry bodies.
The grains program covers 23 grain commodities:
- cereal grains (wheat, barley, oat, maize, sorghum, millet, rye, triticale)
- pulses (adzuki bean, chickpea, cow pea, pigeon pea, field pea, faba/broad bean, lentil, vetch, navy bean, mung bean, lupin and soybean)
- oilseeds (canola, sunflower, safflower, linseed)
- milled fractions of wheat (whole grain, flour, bran)
- wheat durum (whole grain, semolina, bran durum),
- soybean (whole grain, flour, kibble)
- maize (whole grain, flour and polenta).
The program comprises a range of sub-programs, which aim to cover all known export and domestic grain streams. These are:
- export: bulk export, and export containers or bags
- domestic: milled products, maltsters, oilseed crushers, stockfeed manufacturers, feedlots, and food processors.
The program is funded by a statutory ‘farm-gate-value’ levy. The grain levy also helps funds the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Plant Health Australia.
To see the breakdown of the levy per grain product please refer to the current levy charge rates.
Sample collection and analysis
Samples are collected at grain handling establishments in accordance with NRS protocols and procedures using NRS sampling equipment.
Export grain samples are collected at export terminals and container packing facilities using automatic sampling equipment as the grain is loaded onto ships or into containers.
Samples of milling grain and their milled fractions are collected from domestic mills on randomly selected dates.
Milled fraction samples, such as flour, semolina, polenta, bran and kibble, are collected as the whole grain and milled product. This way, the results provide information on the relative concentration of pesticide residues in each fraction.
Grain is also sampled on delivery to domestic grain processors such as stock feed manufacturers, maltsters, feedlots, and oilseed and oat processors.
Grain samples are freighted overnight directly to the contract analytical laboratory.
All grain samples are subjected to a multi-residue chemical screen covering a range of pesticides and environmental contaminants. According to agreed industry sampling rates, a percentage of samples are also randomly subjected to an additional herbicide screen.
To see the full list of chemicals that the NRS test for please go the publications page and select the plant datasets section.
|Multi-residue||Insecticides||Over 90 analytes including acephate, abamectin, bifenthrin, diazinon, malathion, pyrethrin and spinosad|
|Fungicides||Over 55 analytes including azoxystrobin, boscalid, captan, iprodione, fludioxonil and propiconazole|
|Herbicides||Over 55 analytes including atrazine, bromacil, clopyralid, isoxaben, norflurazon and simazine|
|Organochlorines||aldrin and dieldrin, chlordane, DDT, endosulfan, endrin, HCB, heptachlor, lindane (gamma HCH) and mirex|
|Special herbicide||Herbicides||amitrole, chlormequat, dichlorprop-P, diclofop-methyl, diquat, fenoxaprop-ethyl, flamprop-M-methyl, fluazifop-p-butyl, glufosinate, glyphosate, haloxyfop, paraquat, quizalofop ethyl and quizalofop-p-tefuryl|
|Imidazolinone herbicides||Herbicides||Imazamox, imazapic, imazapyr, imazaquin, imazethapyr|
|Year||Export Bulk Samples||Compliance (%)||Export Container Samples||Compliance (%)||Domestic Samples||Compliance (%)|
The horticulture programs cover:
- apple and pear (pome fruit)
Sample collection and analysis
Samples can be collected directly from growers, packing houses or city fruit and vegetable markets. Each sampling plan aims to establish a nation-wide spread of samples covering as many producers as is practicable each year.
All horticulture samples are freighted overnight directly to the contracted analytical laboratory. If necessary, the laboratory then forwards samples to a second laboratory for additional analysis.
All horticulture samples are subjected to a multi-residue screen which covers a range of fungicides, organophosphates, organochlorines, synthetic pyrethroids, herbicides and dithiocarbamates. The NRS, with the permission of the Apple and Pear industry, have commenced offering optional heavy metals and microbiological testing on pome fruit samples to collectors.
The multi-residue screen has been developed in consultation with all participating horticulture industry peak bodies.
According to agreed industry sampling rates, a set portion of almond and macadamia samples are also subjected to additional special herbicide, phosphine and/or heavy metals screening.