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Int J Food Microbiol. 1996 Jun;30(1-2):3-7.

Quantitative risk analysis and the production of microbiologically safe food: an introduction.

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  • 1National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


There is increasing interest in the application of quantitative risk analysis (QRA) in the production of microbiologically safe food products. QRA can be defined as a stepwise analysis of health risks which may be associated with a particular type of food product, resulting in an estimation of the probability of occurrence of negative health effects following the consumption of that food and the nature of these risks. Starting with this definition, the following successive components can be recognised: (1) hazard identification, which is a qualitative indication of the potential microbial hazards that may be associated with the consumption of a particular food product; (2) exposure assessment, which is the quantitative estimation of the dose of potentially hazardous organisms to which the consumer is exposed at the time of consumption of the food; (3) dose response assessment, which is the process of obtaining quantitative information on the negative effects of different levels of exposure to potentially hazardous organisms on the health of the consumer; (4) risk characterization, which comprises the activities that are carried out to rank the disorders according to severity, perception, economic and social consequences etc., enabling a decision to be made about the acceptance of a particular risk; and (5) risk management, which is the complex of analyses and judgements to reduce the probability of occurrence of unacceptable risks.

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