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European Food Safety Authority develops toolbox

The EFSA developed a toolbox that all food safety professionals could tap to help rank microbiological risks


Parma, Italy – The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has developed a toolbox to help food safety professionals rank microbiological risks.

The EFSA’s Biological Hazards Panel put the toolbox together by assessing eight different tools appropriate for risk ranking biological hazards in food using two case studies, explains FoodSafetyWatch.org.

The panel compared the eight tools and noted differences in their performance when faced with the same scenario.

The panel found that the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations iRISK model was the best available tool to risk rank microbiological hazards. iRISK is a web-based system designed to analyze data concerning microbial and chemical hazards in food and return an estimate of the resulting health burden on a population level.

For more on iRISK, visit: https://irisk.foodrisk.org/

The panel also identified the Burden of Communicable Diseases in Europe (BCoDE) tool kit as a useful means of ranking pathogens and as suitable for use in combination with iRISK, says FoodSafetyWatch.org.

BCoDE is a project funded by a grant from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The project’s aim is to estimate the burden of communicable diseases by applying composite health measures (DALYS: Disability Adjusted Life Years) in order to summarize the overall burden in one single metric and therefore to compare the relative burden of each communicable disease.

For more information on BCoDE, visit: http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/burden_of_communicable_diseases/project/Pages/project.aspx

FoodSafetyWatch.org also explains that the panel identified quantitative risk ranking models as preferable to semi-quantitative tools, which are too limited, except when data and time constraints prevent the use of quantitative tools.

The panel also cautions against the use of decision trees and conclude that the iRISK and BCoDE tools in combination with other predictive microbiology resources can be the basis of an effective risk ranking toolbox.

For more on the EFSA’s tool kit, visit: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3939.htm


Deanna Rosolen

Deanna Rosolen

Managing Editor, Food in Canada
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