Amendments to Standard 1.4.1 of the FSANZ Code has meant that
levels of hydrocyanic acid (cyanide) will now be regulated in
vegetable crackers/chips (cassava-based chips). Suppliers will need
to comply with the amended Standard or face fines of up to
FSANZ Code is a collection of individual food standards which
have the force of law. It is an offence in New Zealand, and a
criminal offence in Australia to supply food that does not comply
with the FSANZ Code.
Why have changes been introduced?
Cassava is mainly harvested in South East Asian countries. The
root is commonly known as tapioca and is often used as an
alternative to gluten based products, particularly in chips.
The amendments were introduced due to a NSW Food Authority
recall of vegetable (cassavabased) crackers after finding high
levels of cyanogenic glycoside, which can trigger cyanide to be
made in the gut and is particularly harmful to children.
What are the main changes to the Standard?
There are three main changes to Standard 1.4.1:
Definition of "hydrocyanic acid, total" to
include all forms of hydrocyanic acid.
Definition of "ready-to-eat cassava chips"
as "ready for immediate consumption with no further
preparation required including crisps, crackers or 'vege'
Introduction of the maximum limit of 10mg/kg of total
hydrocyanic acid in ready-toeat cassava chips.
The amended Standard 1.4.1 took effect from 30 April 2009. In
Australia, contraventions of the FSANZ Code are monitored by
various State/Territory food authorities. Maximum penalties for
breaching the FSANZ Code range from $55,000 for an individual to
$275,000 for a corporation. Breaches of the FSANZ Code can also
result in expensive product recalls and negative publicity.
FSANZ has not ruled out further regulation of cyanide products,
stating that there are 'potential public health
implications' in foods such as apricot kernels and linseed
products, suggesting that they may be covered by future
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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