IFN 04-20 – Changes to tests applied to surveillance food

Date of effect: 7 September 2020


Food importers and brokers.


To advise importers and brokers of changes to tests applied to surveillance food that come into effect for all entries lodged from 7 September 2020.

Key points

  • The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has completed a review of some surveillance tests.
  • Lead testing will be removed from canned and preserved fruit.
  • Tin testing will be removed from canned food.
  • Lead testing will commence on fresh and frozen vegetables at the rate of 5%.
  • From 7 September 2020 imports of fresh and frozen vegetables will have a 5% chance of being referred for lead testing.


  • The tests applied to surveillance foods change periodically so that compliance against different standards is monitored over time. These changes take into account the results of testing conducted and new or updated risk advice from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
  • Surveillance testing of preserved and canned fruit for lead and tin was implemented on 27 February 2015. A review of this testing has shown a high rate of compliance since that time.
  • Removing lead and tin testing from preserved and canned fruit and vegetables allows us to target other foods for compliance with limits in the Food Standards Code (FSC).
  • Testing of fresh and frozen vegetables for lead is being introduced because vegetables are considered an important contributor to lead dietary exposure. The department will verify imported vegetables are compliant with the limits of lead in the FSC.

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Last reviewed: 7 August 2020
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