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J Food Prot. 2009 Oct;72(10):2151-61.

Application of quantitative microbial risk assessments for estimation of risk management metrics: Clostridium perfringens in ready-to-eat and partially cooked meat and poultry products as an example.

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  • 1Cambridge Environmental, Inc., 58 Charles Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02141, USA.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service is exploring quantitative risk assessment methodologies to incorporate the use of the Codex Alimentarius' newly adopted risk management metrics (e.g., food safety objectives and performance objectives). It is suggested that use of these metrics would more closely tie the results of quantitative microbial risk assessments (QMRAs) to public health outcomes. By estimating the food safety objective (the maximum frequency and/or concentration of a hazard in a food at the time of consumption) and the performance objective (the maximum frequency and/or concentration of a hazard in a food at a specified step in the food chain before the time of consumption), risk managers will have a better understanding of the appropriate level of protection (ALOP) from microbial hazards for public health protection. We here demonstrate a general methodology that allows identification of an ALOP and evaluation of corresponding metrics at appropriate points in the food chain. It requires a two-dimensional probabilistic risk assessment, the example used being the Monte Carlo QMRA for Clostridium perfringens in ready-to eat and partially cooked meat and poultry products, with minor modifications to evaluate and abstract required measures. For demonstration purposes, the QMRA model was applied specifically to hot dogs produced and consumed in the United States. Evaluation of the cumulative uncertainty distribution for illness rate allows a specification of an ALOP that, with defined confidence, corresponds to current industry practices.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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