In 2020, FSANZ undertook an analytical program to update and expand our food composition data holdings. Fifteen 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 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 foods were sampled across five states and territories (Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia) to provide a range of production locations. For some samples, multiple items were required to ensure an appropriate sample weight was obtained (i.e. one sample of rice crackers included 2-3 packets of rice crackers).
Sampling was carried out by FSANZ and the National Measurement Institute (NMI). All food purchases were made within capital city and metropolitan areas to represent the buying habits of the majority of the community. Food purchases were made at a range of retail outlets including supermarkets, independent grocers 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.
The complete list of foods selected for analysis is available in Table 1.
Table 1: Foods analysed in the 2020 Key Foods analytical program
No. of samples purchased (no. of items purchased*)
No. of brands/varieties
Biscuit, savoury, rice based, with added vegetable powder
Biscuit, savoury, seed based, without flour or grain
Biscuit, sweet, breakfast-style
Biscuit, sweet, cream-filled
Biscuit, sweet, caramel-filled, chocolate coated
Powdered chocolate drink
Nesquik, powder, chocolate
Corn chips, salted
Chocolate, dark, no added sugar
Pasta or noodles, egg-style, boiled
Pasta, lentil/pulse based, boiled
Ice-cream, premium, vanilla
Milk, flavoured, chocolate, reduced fat
Pumpkin, all varieties, fresh, raw
Lettuce, iceberg, fresh, raw
Preparation & analysis
The samples were delivered 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 combined to form one composite sample. Nutrients analysed in this program are listed in Table 2.
NMI conducted the analyses at their Melbourne laboratories. Methods of analysis used have been accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities.
Table 2: Nutrients analysed in the 2020 Key Foods program
Carotenes (α and β)
Fatty acid profile
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Total dietary fibre
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
Tocopherols (α, β, γ and δ)
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.
For the complete set of results generated from this program refer to Appendix 1 – 2020 Key Food analytical program data table.xls
The results of this analytical program have filled some important data gaps and given us 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 the FSANZ published databases, including the Australian Food Composition Database and future national nutrition survey databases (AUSNUT).