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2018 Food composition analytical program


In 2018 FSANZ undertook an analytical program to update and expand our food composition data holdings. Thirty-six foods were selected for nutrient analysis for which we hold no data, or the data we do hold is out-dated and may no longer reflect the products available for consumption.

The complete list of foods selected for analysis is available below.

The nutrients selected to be analysed differed for each food depending on what data was available, the quality of the data, and whether the nutrient was likely to be present in the food.


Eight samples were purchased for each food. The sample locations varied according to the food type. Fruit and vegetables were sampled across five states and territories (Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia) to provide a range of production locations. Fruit bread and hot cross buns were sampled in Victoria and the ACT. The remaining foods were sampled within the ACT only, as these foods were typically manufactured at a single location and distributed nationally, therefore sample purchase location was not considered a priority. For some samples, multiple items were required to ensure an appropriate sample weight was obtained (i.e. one sample of nectarines included four individual nectarines).

Sampling was carried out by FSANZ and the National Measurement Institute (NMI). All food purchases were made within capital city metropolitan areas at a retail outlet representing the buying habits of the majority of the community, including supermarkets, bakeries, health food stores and fresh fruit and vegetable stores. If more than one sample of the same brand was purchased, different batch codes or use by dates were selected where possible.

Foods analysed in the 2018 Food composition analytical program

Foods No. of samples purcahsed (no. of items purchased*)​ No. of brands/varieties​
​Biscuit, savoury, corn cake, plain8 (​16)​4
​Biscuit, savoury, Cruskits8 (16)​1​
​Biscuit, savoury,rice cake, plain8 (16)​​6
​Biscuit, savoury, rice crackers, flavoured8 (40)​​8
​Biscuit, savoury, rice crackers, plain8 (32)​​5
​Biscuit, savoury, Ryvita8 (16)​​1
​Biscuit, savoury, Salada8 (16)​​2
​Biscuit, savoury, Vita-weat8 (16)​​2
​Biscuit, savoury, white, reduced fat (water cracker style)​8 (16)​5
​Biscuit, sweet, chocolate coated/topped/chips8 (19)​​8
​Biscuit, sweet, plain​8 (16)8​
​Biscuit, sweet, shortbread​8 (16)​7
​​Biscuit, sweet, Tim Tam​8 (16)4​
​Bread, fruit/raisin​8 (8)​7
​Bread, tortilla, white8 (8)​​4
​Bread, wrap, white8 (8)​​5
​Flour, polenta​8 (8)​5
​Flour, wholemeal, wheat, plain​8 (8)​3
​Hot cross buns​8 (20)​5
​Grapes, green8 (8)​​n/a
​Kale8 (13)​n/a​
​Mixed greens, pre-packed8 (15)​n/a​
​Nectarine, yellow8 (34)​n/a​
​Peach, yellow8 (26)​n/a​
​Pineapple, sweet8 (8)​n/a​
​Tomato, cherry/grape8 (17)​n/a​
​Seeds, chia8 (11)​8​
​Seeds, linseed​8 (9)6​
​Seeds, pumpkin ​8 (18)​7
​Seeds, sunflower​8 (15)​6
​Almond milk​8 (8)​6
​Coconut beverage​8 (8)​5
​Mayonnaise, regular fat​8 (9)​6
​Salami, all varieties, raw​8 (14)​8
​Sauce, BBQ​8 (8)​6
​Sauce, soy​8 (11)​7

*In some instances, multiple items must be purchased to reach the required weight of 500g per sample.

Preparation and analysis

The samples were delivered by hand or sent by courier to NMI. Once received, the samples were photographed and copies were provided to FSANZ for approval prior to analysis.

NMI prepared samples according to the sample preparation procedures provided by FSANZ. Each sample was weighed (before and after preparation where appropriate), homogenised and either prepared to be analysed individually or combined to form one composite sample, depending on the nutrient to be analysed. Nutrients analysed in this program are listed in Nutrients analysed in the 2018 food composition analytical program.

NMI conducted the analyses at their Melbourne laboratories. Methods of analysis used have been accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities.

Nutrients analysed in the 2018 food composition analytical program

Proximates Vitamins Minerals Other
  • Moisture
  • Protein
  • Total fat
  • Starch
  • Sugar profile
  • Dietary fibre
  • Ash
  • Organic acids
  • Ethanol
  • Carotenes (α and β)
  • Cryptoxanthin
  • Rethinol
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Panthothenate (B5)
  • Total folates
  • Free folates
  • Vitamin C
  • Tocopherols (α, β, γ and δ)
  • Aluminium
  • Arsenic
  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc
  • Fatty acid profile
  • Caffeine
  • Cholesterol
  • Tryptophan


FSANZ validated the results using our existing analytical data, food labels (ingredient lists and nutrition information panels) where available and data from international food composition databases for similar foods.

The majority of results were consistent with previous findings. A small number of analytes in some foods showed levels outside the expected range. These food samples were reanalysed by the laboratory, and all results were verified and accepted.

Results worth noting include lower than expected values for:

  • vitamin C in fruits (grapes, nectarine, peach, pineapple), mixed greens and kale
  • carotenes in some fruits (peach, pineapple, grapes) and kale
  • folates and tocopherols in sunflower seeds.

Further investigation suggest these differences are most likely due to differences in variety, ripeness and storage conditions compared to the comparison data.

For the complete set of results generated from this program refer to Appendix 1 – 2018 Food composition analytical program data table [95 kb xlsx].


The results of this analytical program have filled some important data gaps and given FSANZ an improved level of confidence about the composition of these foods which contribute to population nutrient intakes. The results will also feed into future releases of FSANZ published databases, including the Australian Food Composition Database (formerly called NUTTAB).

Last updated: 18 June 2020


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