EU – Risk Ranking of Chemical and Microbiological Hazards in Foods ‐ Research Project and International Workshop



The purpose of this project was to improve the ability to perform risk ranking of current chemical and microbiological hazards in foods. The work was performed in three work packages (WPs) comprising an overview of chemical and microbiological risk assessment (WP1), development of methods for risk ranking (WP2), and the organisation of an international workshop (WP3). The developmental work consisted of 1) a method for chemical hazards that was also adapted for newer toxicological effect data, and 2) an exposure model applicable to both types of hazards in its design. Conclusions at the workshop included that risk ranking fundamentally would provide added support to risk management and risk communication. Both probability and severity of a health effect was regarded to be relevant to incorporate in the metric used for risk ranking. Measures of health burden were regarded as useful by many participants but there was no consensus on the most preferable metric. The value of other metrics, including less data intensive ones, was also noted. While risk ranking should be based on risk assessment principles, management aspects would ultimately need to be considered on top of this. Participants were positive to a joint framework for both chemical and microbiological hazards, but several challenges were identified. In the face of a general lack of desired data it was regarded to be important to make efficient use of the available information, and it may be advantageous if methods are compatible with different sets of evidence. It is recommended that the common metric for risk ranking is further resolved in terms of what aspects it should account for, the usefulness of particular or different metrics, as well as the concept of a tiered approach. Development of an overarching guidance for risk ranking addressing the many types of rankings possible is proposed.

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