The 23rd Australian Total Diet Study (ATDS) examined the dietary exposure of the Australian population to 214 agricultural and veterinary chemicals, 9 contaminants, 12 mycotoxins, and 11 nutrients. A total of 92 foods and beverages commonly consumed in the Australian diet were sampled during January/February and June/July 2008 by Government food agencies in each state and territory in Australia. Foods and beverages were prepared to a table-ready state before being analysed.
Dietary exposure was estimated by determining the concentration of the substance in the foods and beverages multiplied by the amount of food consumed by various age and gender groups, as reported in the two most recent Australian national nutrition surveys (NNS). The dietary exposure to agricultural and veterinary chemicals, contaminants and nutrients was assessed against available reference health standards to determine any potential human health and safety risks. Where there were no Australian health standards, internationally accepted reference health standards or Margins of Exposure (MOE) were used.
The ATDS found that for agricultural and veterinary chemical residues estimated dietary exposures were all below the relevant reference health standards. This is consistent with the findings from previous ATDS. In addition, there were no detections of mycotoxins in any of the foods analysed.
Estimated dietary exposure for contaminants were below the relevant health standards for all population groups at both the mean and 90th percentile consumption levels (high consumers).
The ATDS provided a general indication of nutrient intake amongst the Australian population but results do not indicate a human health and safety risk. Results will inform further larger scale studies such as national nutrition surveys that will investigate and further define nutrient adequacy.
The 23rd ATDS confirms the current safety of the Australian food supply in terms of the levels of agricultural and veterinary chemicals, contaminants, selected mycotoxins and nutrients.
These results are consistent with previous ATDS’s that have showed that dietary exposure to these chemicals from the food supply was well within reference health standards.
The ATDS will continue as a national collaborative effort to estimate the level of dietary exposure of Australians to a range of food chemicals in order to assess public health and safety.
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