A risk-based microbiological criterion is described, that is based on the relative risk associated to the analytical result of a number of samples taken from a food lot. The acceptable limit is a specific level of risk and not a specific number of microorganisms, as in other microbiological criteria. The approach requires the availability of a quantitative microbiological risk assessment model to get risk estimates for food products from sampled food lots. By relating these food lot risk estimates to the mean risk estimate associated to a representative baseline data set, a relative risk estimate can be obtained. This relative risk estimate then can be compared with a critical value, defined by the criterion. This microbiological criterion based on a relative risk limit is particularly useful when quantitative enumeration data are available and when the prevalence of the microorganism of concern is relatively high. The use of the approach is therefore illustrated with an example of Campylobacter in broiler meat. It shows that this microbiological criterion can be applied in practice. An advantage of the method is that the acceptable limit is directly defined in terms of risk, without the need to define other food safety standards.
- Risk assessment
- Food safety control
- Risk-based microbiological criteria