Food Residues Survey Programme

The Food Residues Survey Programme (FRSP) investigates residues and contaminants in food intended for sale in New Zealand's domestic market. Find out about the programme and current and past surveys.

About the Food Residues Survey Programme (FRSP)

The programme was established in 2003. It investigates residues and contaminants in food sold in New Zealand. Both domestic produce and imported foods are included in the surveys.

Prior to 2017, the FRSP was known as the Food Residues Surveillance Programme.

How the FRSP works

The FRSP targets crops and foods that may present potential food safety risks, and checks samples for residues (and contaminants when an issue arises). Surveys target a broad range of agricultural chemicals registered in New Zealand for use on agricultural/horticultural produce.  FRSP does not target the individual food producers nor functions as a ‘test and release’ tool for imported foods.  Typically, screening tests used in surveys include between 200 and 500 different pesticide residues.

When screening is complete, MPI follows up on:

  • domestic samples with residues that exceed the applicable maximum residue levels (MRLs) set in the current notice issued under the Food Act 2014
  • domestic samples which indicate that agricultural compound products have not been applied in accordance with the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997
  • imported samples with residues that exceed the relevant MRLs 
  • imported samples with residues that exceed the Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) and Extraneous Maximum Residue Limits (EMRLs) for Pesticides under the current edition of the Codex Pesticides Residues in Food Online Database or the Maximum Residue Limits for Veterinary Drugs in Food under the current edition of the Codex Veterinary Drug Residue in the Food Online Database.

When test results exceed the MRL, MPI does a food safety assessment for dietary exposure for the different age groups in the New Zealand population to determine if there is an issue before we contact the grower/importer.

Since the results of the survey samples are available only after most of the products have been already consumed, this survey is not designed as a tool for informing immediate food risks to consumers.  However, if the results of the sample testing and food safety assessment identify food safety trends or public health issues, MPI will work with one or more of the following parties to address those concerns: industry, local councils, the Environmental Protection Authority, other government agencies, or laboratories.

MPI releases an annual survey report with anonymised results and findings. The report covers survey activities carried out during the previous fiscal year.

Completed FRSP surveys

2019-2020 plant-based foods survey

Survey objectives and scope

The FRSP is collecting samples of plant-based foods available for sale in New Zealand and testing for pesticide residues. This survey collects baseline data on agricultural chemical use and looks for indications of good agricultural practices.  

Sampling began in July 2019 and will continue to June 2020. The survey is likely to include 60 samples of the following:


Codex classifications

Proposed crops for 2019–2020 (depending on availability and seasonality)*


Root and tuber vegetables





Brassica vegetables


Brussel sprouts

Cabbages (Savoy, red, etc)


Stalk and stem vegetables





Pome fruits

Pears (Packham, nashi, Yali, Anjou)




Small fruits and berries




*If crops are unavailable for sampling, other crop(s) from the same classification may be used as a replacement sample.

The 2017-2019 plant-based foods survey

The data for 2017-2019 plant-based foods survey is being collated. When the final report is ready, it will be published on this website. 

Published FRSP survey reports

FSRP 2017-2019 plant based foods survey final report [PDF, 1.5 MB]

FRSP 2017-2019 Plant based foods survey interim report [PDF, 515 KB]

FRSP 2016: Survey of agricultural compound resides in commercial foods for infants and young children [PDF, 241 KB]

FRSP 2015-2016: Pesticides in fresh and frozen produce [PDF, 447 KB]

FRSP 2013-2014: Pesticide residues in plant products [PDF, 434 KB]


Last reviewed: