Application of Risk Assessment in the Fish Industry

J. Sumner
Visiting Research Professor
T. Ross
Senior Lecturer in
Centre for Food Safety and
School of Agricultural
Tasmanian Institute of
University of Tasmania
L. Ababouch
Fish Utilization and
Fishery Industries Division
FAO Fisheries Department

Rome, 2004
Table of Contents

Cover photographs:
Left: Fish processing plant in Latvia. Right: Norwegian salmon farm. Courtesy of EUROFISH.

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ISBN 92-5-104951-3

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© FAO 2004

Sumner, J.; Ross, T.; Ababouch, L.
Application of risk assessment in the fish industry.
FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 442. Rome, FAO. 2004. 78p.


In recent years, the concept of risk has become paramount in international food regulation. Industries are increasingly required to undertake product risk assessment, particularly in the export arena. This publication has been developed as a complete "How to" package on risk assessment for seafood technologists, regulators and health professionals. It is designed in five parts and takes the user from a basic knowledge to being able to conduct credible risk assessments:

1. The basics of risk assessment: definitions and language of the discipline

2. How to perform risk assessments: stepwise progression

3. How to use risk assessments: risk management, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), risk profiling

4. Risk Ranger - how to use it

5. Examples of risk assessments: an interactive setting for the reader

This publication also includes the Resources Bank, a CD-ROM, which provides a large amount of additional information for the would-be risk assessor.


FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Regional and Subregional Fisheries Officers
FAO Representatives
Fish Technology Centres

Table of Contents

Preparation of this document




1. The basics of risk assessment

1.1 Risk and risk analysis in plain language
1.2 Types of risk assessment

1.1.1 Qualitative risk assessments
1.1.2 Semi-quantitative risk assessment
1.1.3 Quantitative risk assessment

2. How to perform risk assessments

2.1 Process initiation
2.2 Hazard identification
2.3 Hazard characterization

2.3.1 Consumers (hosts)
2.3.2 Dose-response

2.4 Exposure assessment
2.5 Risk characterization

3. How to use risk assessments

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Use 1: Risk profiling an entire industry
3.3 Use 2: Risk management
3.4 Risk management case study: enteric viruses in oysters
3.5 Use 3: Risk assessment and HACCP

4. Risk Ranger

4.1 Background to developing Risk Ranger
4.2 User interface - the Risk Ranger shop front
4.3 How to use Risk Ranger
4.4 Risk estimates
4.5 Evaluating risk ranger
4.6 How Risk Ranger can be used
4.7 Let us work through some examples

5. Examples of risk assessments

5.1 Introduction
5.2 How to perform a qualitative risk assessment: mercury in seafood

5.2.1 Purpose of the assessment
5.2.2 Hazard identification
5.2.3 Hazard characterization
5.2.4 Exposure assessment
5.2.5 Risk characterization
5.2.6 Risk estimate
5.2.7 Identification of critical data gaps
5.2.8 Risk management and communication

5.3 How to perform a semi-quantitative risk assessment: Ciguatera Fish Poisoning

5.3.1 Purpose of the assessment
5.3.2 Hazard identification
5.3.3 Hazard characterization
5.3.4 Exposure assessment
5.3.5 Risk characterization
5.3.6 Risk estimate
5.3.7 Reality check
5.3.8 Data gaps in the present assessment
5.3.9 Risk management and communication issues

5.4 How to perform a semi-quantitative risk assessment: Histamine Fish Poisoning

5.4.1 Purpose of the assessment
5.4.2 Hazard identification
5.4.3 Hazard characterization
5.4.4 Exposure assessment
5.4.5 Risk characterization
5.4.6 Risk estimate
5.4.7 Identification of critical data gaps
5.4.8 Risk management and communication issues

5.5 Pathogenic Vibrio parahaemolyticus in oysters eaten raw: quantitative risk assessment

5.5.1 Purpose of the assessment
5.5.2 Your approach to the QRA
5.5.3 Hazard identification
5.5.4 Exposure assessment
5.5.5 Dose-response
5.5.6 Risk characterization


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