EFSA develops toolbox to help rank microbiological risks

| January 13, 2015

E. coli on plateThe European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a Scientific Opinion on the development of a risk ranking toolbox designed to help risk assessors prioritise the most significant risks from microbiological hazards in food.

The toolbox was developed by EFSA’s Biological Hazards Panel, which assessed eight different tools appropriate for risk ranking biological hazards in food using two case studies. The Panel compared the eight tools and noted differences in their performance when faced with the same scenario.

They found that the FDA iRISK model was the best available tool to risk rank microbiological hazards and identified the Burden of Communicable Diseases in Europe (BCoDE) toolkit as a useful means of ranking pathogens and as suitable for use in combination with iRISK.

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. They also caution 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.

The Opinion can be accessed in full here.

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