The role of hazard- and risk-based approaches in ensuring food safety

Susan M. Barlow, Alan R. Boobis, Jim Bridges, Andrew Cockburn, Wolfgang Dekant, Paul Hepburn, Geert F. Houben, Jürgen König, Maarten Nauta, Jeroen Schuermans, Diána Bánáti

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Abstract

Background
Food legislation in the European Union and elsewhere includes both hazard- and risk-based approaches for ensuring safety. In hazard-based approaches, simply the presence of a potentially harmful agent at a detectable level in food is used as a basis for legislation and/or risk management action. Risk-based approaches allow consideration of exposure in assessing whether there may be unacceptable risks to health.
Scope and approach
The advantages and disadvantages of hazard- and risk-based approaches for ensuring the safety of food chemicals, allergens, ingredients and microorganisms were explored at an ILSI Europe workshop.
Key findings and conclusions
It was concluded that both types of approach have their place, depending on the context. However, problems can arise when both types of approach are used in regulation by separate agencies that address different aspects of the same agent/substance present in food. This separation of decision-making can result in hazard-based restrictions on marketing and use, whereas risk-based assessments for those exposed show there is reasonable certainty no harm will result. This in turn can lead to contradictory, confusing and ultimately unnecessary actions. Use of hazard-based approaches for foods also means that comparisons with benefits for nutrition and food security cannot be undertaken. This has the potential to lead to bias in the overall conclusions of regulators and risk managers, who may not have been presented with the benefits of particular foods. The value of risk-based approaches is becoming increasingly recognised.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Volume46
Issue number2 Part A
Pages (from-to)176-188
ISSN0924-2244
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Creative Commons license

Keywords

  • Food safety
  • Hazard
  • Risk assessment
  • Food chemicals
  • Food allergens
  • Microorganisms

Cite this

Barlow, S. M., Boobis, A. R., Bridges, J., Cockburn, A., Dekant, W., Hepburn, P., ... Bánáti, D. (2015). The role of hazard- and risk-based approaches in ensuring food safety. Trends in Food Science and Technology, 46(2 Part A), 176-188. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2015.10.007
Barlow, Susan M. ; Boobis, Alan R. ; Bridges, Jim ; Cockburn, Andrew ; Dekant, Wolfgang ; Hepburn, Paul ; Houben, Geert F. ; König, Jürgen ; Nauta, Maarten ; Schuermans, Jeroen ; Bánáti, Diána. / The role of hazard- and risk-based approaches in ensuring food safety. In: Trends in Food Science and Technology. 2015 ; Vol. 46, No. 2 Part A. pp. 176-188.
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Barlow, SM, Boobis, AR, Bridges, J, Cockburn, A, Dekant, W, Hepburn, P, Houben, GF, König, J, Nauta, M, Schuermans, J & Bánáti, D 2015, 'The role of hazard- and risk-based approaches in ensuring food safety', Trends in Food Science and Technology, vol. 46, no. 2 Part A, pp. 176-188. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2015.10.007

The role of hazard- and risk-based approaches in ensuring food safety. / Barlow, Susan M.; Boobis, Alan R.; Bridges, Jim; Cockburn, Andrew; Dekant, Wolfgang; Hepburn, Paul; Houben, Geert F.; König, Jürgen; Nauta, Maarten; Schuermans, Jeroen; Bánáti, Diána.

In: Trends in Food Science and Technology, Vol. 46, No. 2 Part A, 2015, p. 176-188.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - The role of hazard- and risk-based approaches in ensuring food safety

AU - Barlow, Susan M.

AU - Boobis, Alan R.

AU - Bridges, Jim

AU - Cockburn, Andrew

AU - Dekant, Wolfgang

AU - Hepburn, Paul

AU - Houben, Geert F.

AU - König, Jürgen

AU - Nauta, Maarten

AU - Schuermans, Jeroen

AU - Bánáti, Diána

N1 - Creative Commons license

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - BackgroundFood legislation in the European Union and elsewhere includes both hazard- and risk-based approaches for ensuring safety. In hazard-based approaches, simply the presence of a potentially harmful agent at a detectable level in food is used as a basis for legislation and/or risk management action. Risk-based approaches allow consideration of exposure in assessing whether there may be unacceptable risks to health.Scope and approachThe advantages and disadvantages of hazard- and risk-based approaches for ensuring the safety of food chemicals, allergens, ingredients and microorganisms were explored at an ILSI Europe workshop.Key findings and conclusionsIt was concluded that both types of approach have their place, depending on the context. However, problems can arise when both types of approach are used in regulation by separate agencies that address different aspects of the same agent/substance present in food. This separation of decision-making can result in hazard-based restrictions on marketing and use, whereas risk-based assessments for those exposed show there is reasonable certainty no harm will result. This in turn can lead to contradictory, confusing and ultimately unnecessary actions. Use of hazard-based approaches for foods also means that comparisons with benefits for nutrition and food security cannot be undertaken. This has the potential to lead to bias in the overall conclusions of regulators and risk managers, who may not have been presented with the benefits of particular foods. The value of risk-based approaches is becoming increasingly recognised.

AB - BackgroundFood legislation in the European Union and elsewhere includes both hazard- and risk-based approaches for ensuring safety. In hazard-based approaches, simply the presence of a potentially harmful agent at a detectable level in food is used as a basis for legislation and/or risk management action. Risk-based approaches allow consideration of exposure in assessing whether there may be unacceptable risks to health.Scope and approachThe advantages and disadvantages of hazard- and risk-based approaches for ensuring the safety of food chemicals, allergens, ingredients and microorganisms were explored at an ILSI Europe workshop.Key findings and conclusionsIt was concluded that both types of approach have their place, depending on the context. However, problems can arise when both types of approach are used in regulation by separate agencies that address different aspects of the same agent/substance present in food. This separation of decision-making can result in hazard-based restrictions on marketing and use, whereas risk-based assessments for those exposed show there is reasonable certainty no harm will result. This in turn can lead to contradictory, confusing and ultimately unnecessary actions. Use of hazard-based approaches for foods also means that comparisons with benefits for nutrition and food security cannot be undertaken. This has the potential to lead to bias in the overall conclusions of regulators and risk managers, who may not have been presented with the benefits of particular foods. The value of risk-based approaches is becoming increasingly recognised.

KW - Food safety

KW - Hazard

KW - Risk assessment

KW - Food chemicals

KW - Food allergens

KW - Microorganisms

U2 - 10.1016/j.tifs.2015.10.007

DO - 10.1016/j.tifs.2015.10.007

M3 - Journal article

VL - 46

SP - 176

EP - 188

JO - Trends in Food Science & Technology

JF - Trends in Food Science & Technology

SN - 0924-2244

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ER -

Barlow SM, Boobis AR, Bridges J, Cockburn A, Dekant W, Hepburn P et al. The role of hazard- and risk-based approaches in ensuring food safety. Trends in Food Science and Technology. 2015;46(2 Part A):176-188. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2015.10.007