Plant product residue monitoring

​​​​​Plant product residue monitoring is conducted as part of the National Residue Survey (NRS) by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, through a grains program and four horticulture programs.

Industry participation in these programs is voluntary and based on export and domestic market access and quality assurance objectives.

Outputs of NRS plant product residue monitoring include:

  • provision of independent, authoritative and technically-sound residue data, reports and advice on Australian grain and horticultural products
  • provision of residue monitoring data to support the specific market access requirements of participating industries
  • reports of contraventions to the relevant state/territory government regulatory authorities within agreed timeframes
  • a database of residue standards (grains, macadamia, almond, citrus and pome fruit) for key international markets
  • coordination of the Australian Grains Industry Post Harvest Chemical Usage Recommendations and Outturn Tolerances document which details the industry-agreed residue tolerances for domestic and overseas markets.

All plant product residue monitoring programs are designed, operated and reviewed within agreed budgets by the NRS in consultation with peak industry bodies.

Grains program

The grains program covers 21 grain commodities:

  • cereal grains (wheat, barley, oat, maize, sorghum, triticale)
  • pulses (chickpea, cow pea, pigeon pea, field pea, faba bean, lentil, vetch, navy bean, mung bean, lupin)
  • oilseeds (canola, sunflower, soybean, safflower, linseed)
  • milled fractions of wheat (whole grain, flour, bran)
  • wheat durum (whole grain, semolina, durum bran),
  • soybean (whole grain, flour, kibble)
  • maize (whole grain, flour and polenta).

The program comprises a range of sub-programs, which aim to cover all known export and domestic grain streams. These are:

  • export: bulk export, and export containers or bags
  • domestic: milled products, maltsters, oilseed crushers, stockfeed manufacturers, feedlots, and food processors.

The program is funded by a statutory 0.015 per cent ‘farm-gate-value’ levy on producers of participating grains. This is a component of the full 1.015 per cent grain levy which also funds the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Plant Health Australia.

Sample collection and analysis

Samples are collected at grain handling establishments in accordance with NRS protocols and procedures using NRS sampling equipment.

Export grain samples are collected at export terminals and container packing facilities using automatic sampling equipment as the grain is loaded onto ships or into containers.

Samples of milling grain and their milled fractions are collected from domestic mills on randomly selected dates.
Milled fraction samples, such as flour, semolina, polenta, bran and kibble, are collected as the whole grain and milled. This way, the results provide information on the relative concentration of pesticide residues in each fraction.

Grain is also sampled on delivery to domestic users such as stock feed manufacturers, maltsters, feedlots, and oilseed and oat processors for human consumption.

Grain samples are freighted overnight directly to the contract analytical laboratory. If necessary, the laboratory then forwards samples to a second laboratory for additional analysis.

Chemical screens

All grain samples are subjected to a multi-residue chemical screen covering a range of pesticides and environmental contaminants. According to agreed industry sampling rates, a percentage of samples are also randomly subjected for additional herbicide, phosphine and heavy metal screening.

List of chemical screens used on grain samples
Screen ChemicalsExamples
Multi-residueInsecticides

Chlorpyrifos-methyl, fenitrothion, fipronil, deltamethrin, imidacloprid, cypermethrin 
FungicidesFlutriafol, fluquinconazole, boscalid
Herbicides2,4-D, imazapyr, triclopyr
Organochlorines DDT, dieldrin, heptachlor
Special herbicideHerbicidesGlyphosate, paraquat, glufosinate, haloxyfop
FumigantPhosphine Phosphine
Heavy metalsMetalsCadmium, lead, mercury, copper, arsenic
Grain program results summary 2004–05 to 2015–16
Year Export Bulk SamplesCompliance (%)Export Container SamplesCompliance (%)Domestic SamplesCompliance (%)
2004–053,65999.977100.01,243 98.8
2005–062,953100.089100.01,191 99.7
2006–072,085100.0168100.01,101 98.9
2007–082,055100.056599.61,248 98.7
2008–092,621100.039198.21,150 97.9
2009–102,67399.882798.3514 98 .0
2010–113,30299.882198.91,107 98.4
2011–124,00599.988699.0828 98.5
2012–133,80299.81,22998.9806 97.2
2013-143,35199.71,80298.9984 97.9
2014-153,45299.92,03498.875397.5
2015-20162,90099.82,28498.91,00696.1

Detailed grains results tables by commodity.

Horticulture programs

The four horticulture programs cover:

  • apple and pear (pome fruit)
  • almond
  • citrus
  • macadamia.

Sample collection and analysis

Samples can be collected directly from growers, packing houses or city fruit and vegetable markets. Each sampling plan aims to establish a nation-wide spread of samples covering as many producers as is practicable each year.

All horticulture samples are freighted overnight directly to the contracted analytical laboratory. If necessary, the laboratory then forwards samples to a second laboratory for additional analysis.

Chemical screens

All horticulture samples are subjected to a multi-residue screen which covers a range of fungicides, organophosphates, organochlorines, synthetic pyrethroids, herbicides and dithiocarbamates. The multi-residue screen has been developed in consultation with all participating horticulture industry peak bodies.

A set portion of almond and macadamia samples are also subjected to phosphine and/or heavy metals screening.

Apple program results summary 2004–05 to 2015-16
YearSamplesCompliance (%)
2004–0522199.5
2005–06250100.0
2006–0745598.0
2007–0846999.6
2008–09471100.0
2009–1047998.1
2010–11420100.0
2011–1234698.3
2012–13299100.0
2013–1431498.1
2014-1529498.6
2015-1628297.9
Pear program results summary 2004–05 to 2015-16
YearSamplesCompliance (%)
2004–0571100.0
2005–0668100.0
2006–079198.9
2007–08141100.0
2008–09136100.0
2009–1014499.3
2010–1115098.7
2011–1214297.2
2012–1310898.2
2013–14110100.0
2014-159297.8
2015-169495.7
Macadamia program results summary 2006–07 to 2015-16
Year SamplesCompliance (%)
2006–07118100
2007–08115100
2008–09204100
2009–10185100
2010–11186100
2011–12141100
2012–1392100
2013–14126100
2014-15112100
2015-16135100
Almond program results summary 2008–09 to 2015-16
YearSamplesCompliance (%)
2008–0964100.0
2009–105398.1
2010–1134100.0
2011–1233100.0
2012–1328100.0
2013–1451100.0
2014-153994.9
2015-163591.4
Citrus program results summary 2011–15
YearSamplesCompliance (%)
201114998.7
2012242100.0
2013324100.0
201437497.9
201530599.7
Onion program results summary 2004–05 to 2013–14
The onion program ceased on the 31 July 2014.
YearSamplesCompliance (%)
2004–05101100
2005–0694100
2006–0790100
2007–0898100
2008–09123100
2009–10113100
2010–11108100
2011–12100100
2012–1357100
2013–1482100

Detailed horticulture results by commodity.

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