Food safety risks and how to prioritize them

Among policies food safety of the European Union (EU), risk assessment is one of the three most important components of risk analysis. However, a food hazard will need to be distinguished from a food hazard:

  • AND food hazard It is any physical, chemical or biological agent that can contaminate food.
  • AND food risk It is an assessment of the likelihood and severity of adverse effects of food-related hazards in specific exposure situations.

European regulatory authorities have published various publications as a tool to classify and prioritize food safety risks. So, the The European Food Safety Authority is an agency of the European Union (EFSA). published a report describing a chemical and microbiological risk classification tool in food.

In this way, EFSA has classified more than 40 pollutants and more than 25 substances chemicals present in food using a tool called the “risk thermometer”, based on two criteria:

  • Exposure limit between reference value and estimated exposure (HBGV)
  • Severity of Critical Health Effects (SAMOE)

How to classify risk and prioritize control in food safety

Players in the sector are currently developing methodologies for risk classification and prioritizing food safety controls, tools and methodologies such as risk ranking.

He called risk ranking, is a systematic analysis to prioritize foodborne hazards in terms of public health risk. Risk ranking is a function of the likelihood and severity of adverse effects on human health in the target population.

Risk classification, sometimes called hazard classification or comparative risk assessment is a technique that can be used to identify and therefore prioritize the most important risks for a given situation. Through this risk classification methodology, the company can identify priority hazard-food product pairs, based on explicit criteria related to the risk (probability and severity).

Risk classification methodology is based on historical data:

  • epidemiological and exposure to food contaminants
  • health and severity criteria
  • sensitivity of the population
  • prevalence of pollution
  • the likelihood of pathogen growth
  • human consumption patterns

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