Brief Introduction to Risk Analysis

Risk Analysis

Risk analysis is defined for the purposes of the Codex Alimentarius Commission as "A process consisting of three components: risk management, risk assessment and risk communication." (World Health Organization, 2010)

Risk Analysis

The following resources provide an overview of the risk analysis paradigm as applied to food safety:

WHO website that provides an introduction to food safety risk analysis:

Presentation from the 2000 JIFSAN seminar series that gives an overview of the historical development and current practice of food safety risk analysis:

Risk Management

Risk management is defined for the purposes of the Codex Alimentarius Commission as "The process, distinct from risk assessment, of weighing policy alternatives, in consultation with all interested parties, considering risk assessment and other factors relevant for the health protection of consumers and for the promotion of fair trade practices, and, if needed, selecting appropriate prevention and control options."(World Health Organization, 2010)


The following resources provide an overview of the processes involved in food safety risk management:

Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Consultation that covers all aspects of applying risk management to food safety matters:

Codex Alimentarius Commission standards guidelines for risk management:

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is defined for the purposes of the Codex Alimentarius Commission as "A scientifically based process consisting of the following steps: (i) hazard identification, (ii) hazard characterization, (iii) exposure assessment, and (iv) risk characterization."

Hazard identification is "The identification of biological, chemical, and physical agents capable of causing adverse health effects and which may be present in a particular food or group of foods."

Hazard characterization is "The qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of the nature of the adverse health effects associated with biological, chemical and physical agents which may be present in food. For chemical agents, a dose-response assessment should be performed. For biological or physical agents, a dose-response assessment should be performed if the data are obtainable."

Exposure assessment is "The qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of the likely intake of biological, chemical, and physical agents via food as well as exposures from other sources if relevant."

Risk characterization is "The qualitative and/or quantitative estimation, including attendant uncertainties, of the probability of occurrence and severity of known or potential adverse health effects in a given population based on hazard identification, hazard characterization and exposure assessment." (World Health Organization, 2010)

These resources discuss risk assessment of microbiological hazards:

WHO document that provides an introduction to microbiological risk assessment

Codex Alimentarius Commission document that describes general principles of microbiological risk assessment

World Health Organization document that provides guidelines for risk characterization of microbiological hazards in foods:

An excerpt from the Web page of the Society of Toxicology which offers a brief overview of risk assessment for chemical hazards in a question-and-answer format, designed for a general audience:

This article addresses the differences between risk assessment and safety assessment, two commonly confused processes in a short article from ORACBA News 5(2), Spring 2000:

Risk Communication

Risk communication is defined for the purposes of the Codex Alimentarius Commission as "The interactive exchange of information and opinions throughout the risk analysis process concerning hazards and risks, risk-related factors and risk perceptions, among risk assessors, risk managers, consumers, industry, the academic community and other interested parties, including the explanation of risk assessment findings and the basis of risk management decisions." (World Health Organization, 2010)

The following resources provide an overview of the processes involved in food safety risk communication:

WHO web page that provides an introduction to risk communication and its role in the risk analysis process:

A series of seven on-line tutorials on various facets of risk communication:

A workbook from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describing the risk communication tool, message mapping:

Codex Alimentarius Commission

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is "...was created in 1963 by the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop food standards, guidelines and related texts such as codes of practice under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. The main purposes of this Programme are protecting health of the consumers and ensuring fair trade practices in the food trade, and promoting coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations." (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization, 1999) (Codex Alimentarius Commission, 2010) For more information, see the following websites:

References

  1. World Health Organization. About Risk Analysis in Food. 2010. Published at:http://www.who.int/foodsafety/micro/riskanalysis/en/. Accessed 06/07/2010.
  2. Codex Alimentarius Commission. Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme Procedural Manual. 2010. Published at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i1400e/i1400e00.htm. Access 06/07/2010.
  3. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Food Safety Risk Analysis: A Guide for National Food Safety Authorities (Food and Nutrition Paper 87). 2006. Published at:ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/009/a0822e/a0822e.pdf. Accessed 06/07/2010.
  4. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization. Understanding the Codex Alimentarius. 1999. Published at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/w9114e/w9114e00.htm. Accessed 06/07/2010.
  5. Codex Alimentarius Commission. 2010. Published at:http://www.codexalimentarius.net/web/index_en.jsp. Accessed 06/07/2010.