In 2021-22 FSANZ undertook an analytical program to update and expand our food composition data holdings. Fourteen 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 apples included 2-5 apples).
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 2021-22 Key Foods analytical program
No. of samples purchased (no. of items purchased*)
No. of brands/varieties
Coffee, black, from instant coffee powder
Juice, vegetable, commercial
Biscuit, sweet, ANZAC, commercial
Wrap/tortilla, corn based
Custard, vanilla, regular fat
Chicken nuggets, frozen, baked
Fish, white, crumbed, frozen, baked
Pie, chicken and vegetable, frozen, baked
Potato, wedges, frozen, baked
Apple, red skinned, unpeeled, raw
*In some instances, multiple items must be purchased to reach the required weight of 500 g per sample.
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. Individual samples for coffee and cola were prepared for individual analysis of caffeine. 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 2021-22 Key Foods program
|Moisture ||Retinol||Aluminum||Fatty acid profile|
|Total dietary fibre||Carotenes (α and β)||Arsenic||Cholesterol|
|Fat||Ascorbic acid (C)||Copper||Tryptophan|
|Total nitrogen||Tocopherols (α, β, γ and δ)||Iodine || |
|Sugar profile||Thiamin (B1)||Iron|| |
|Ash||Riboflavin (B2)||Lead|| |
|Sorbitol||Niacin (B3)||Magnesium|| |
|Organic acids||Pantothenic acid (B5)||Manganese|||
| ||Pyridoxine (B6)||Molybdenum|| |
| ||Total folates||Phosphorus|| |
| ||Folic acid||Potassium|| |
| ||Cobalamin (B12)||Selenium|| |
| || ||Sodium|| |
| || ||Zinc|| |
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. One of these foods was dried apricots which had a sum of proximates 82.2 g/100 g. The sugar and moisture values were lower than the expected range, so the sample was retested and the original values confirmed. It was then thought that the lower sum of proximates were due to the presence of unanalysed sorbitol. The sample was analysed for sorbitol and results showed 11 g/100 g, increasing the sum of proximates to within the acceptable range.
The total folate value for red apples (<2.75 µg/100 g) was also outside the expected range (2.8-59 µg/100 g). The sample was retested and the original values verified. With no evidence to suggest that there were any difficulties with the sample purchase, preparation or analysis, the difference can be attributed to natural variation of folate within red apples.
For the complete set of results generated from this program refer to Appendix 1 – 2021-22 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).