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2013 Specialty bread analytical program


The variety of breads available for consumption in Australia has expanded in recent years and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) had no analytical data for specialty breads that may now be commonly consumed.

Nutrient profiles for specialty breads consumed during the 2011–12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) component of the 2011–13 Australian Health Survey (AHS) were developed by FSANZ using a recipe approach.

In June 2013, FSANZ undertook a small analytical program to collect nutrient data on three newer varieties of bread to use to verify FSANZ's approach for generating nutrient profiles for specialty breads reported as consumed during the NNPAS.


FSANZ selected three types of breads for analysis: Turkish, rye sourdough and Italian-style (pane di casa and ciabatta). Eight samples were purchased for each type of bread from a range of outlets including supermarkets, restaurants and bakeries, as shown in Table 1. FSANZ purchased all samples in Canberra on 3 and 4 June 2013.

Table 1 Bread types selected for analysis

Bread type
Number of samples purchased from each type of outlet
Chain bakery
Independent bakery or restaurant
Italian-style bread
Rye sourdough
Turkish bread

Preparation and analysis

FSANZ weighed and photographed the samples before sending them to the National Measurement Institute (NMI) where they were received on 5 June 2013. The NMI homogenised and combined samples to form one composite sample for each type of specialty bread for analysis.

The NMI conducted the analyses at their Melbourne laboratories using methods of analysis that have been accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities.


FSANZ validated the NMI results using information from food labels (ingredient lists and nutrition information panels) and international food composition databases, where available.

The most notable analytical results were:

  •  The values for sugars were lower than the recipe values for all bread types.
  • The starch and fibre values were higher for Turkish bread and Italian-style bread than the recipe values for those breads.
  • The moisture values were much lower than had been calculated by recipe for Italian-style and Turkish bread, while the moisture value that had been calculated by recipe for rye sourdough was much higher.

For the complete set of results generated from this program refer to Appendix 6 - Specialty bread analytical program - data table (37 Kb Excel).

Updates to the food nutrient database

The analytical results for the 2013 program indicated that FSANZ's recipe calculations may not have been accounting for the loss of sugars during dough fermentation and that some of the estimates of weight change factors (from moisture lost during baking) could be improved.

Having validated the NMI analytical data, FSANZ used those results as follows:

  • The existing recipe data for rye sourdough and Turkish bread were replaced with the analytical data for those foods.
  • The weight change factors were adjusted for sourdough breads so that the recipe moisture aligned with the analysed value. 
  • The nutrient profiles from recipe calculations for Italian-style bread varieties, including pane di casa and ciabatta that are coded as separate items for the NNPAS, were confirmed and modified where required. This mainly involved adjustments relating to moisture values until they matched the analysed values.
  • All other nutrient profiles related to these foods (e.g. toasted rye sourdough) were updated.


The results of the specialty bread analytical program provided valuable information to enable FSANZ to validate its recipe approach for developing nutrient profiles for specialty breads consumed during the NNPAS. The results will also feed into future releases of the FSANZ reference database NUTTAB.


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