Risk assessment of microbiological hazards in foods has been identified as a priority area of work for the CAC. At its 32nd session the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) identified a list of pathogen-commodity combinations for which it required expert risk assessment advice. In response, FAO and WHO, jointly launched a programme of work with the objective of providing expert advice on risk assessment of microbiological hazards in foods to their member countries and to the CAC.
Dr. Hajime Toyofuku, WHO, and Dr. Sarah Cahill, FAO provided participants with history of the FAO, WHO and Codex activities on microbiological risk assessment including the background to the current work. In their presentation, they also highlighted the objectives and expected outcomes of the current meeting. Dr Jean-Louis Jouve, Chief, Food Quality and Standards Service, FAO provided the expert consultation with guidance on how to conduct their review and evaluation of the background documents.
The FAO/WHO programme of activities on microbiological risk assessment aims to serve two customers - the CAC and the FAO and WHO member countries. The CAC, and in particular the CCFH, has requested sound scientific advice as a basis for the development of guidelines and recommendations as well as the answers to specific risk management questions on certain pathogen-commodity combinations. Member countries on the other hand need specific risk assessment tools to use in conducting their own assessments and, if possible, some modules that can be directly applicable to a national risk assessment.
To implement this programme of work, FAO and WHO are convening a series of joint expert consultations. To date two expert consultations have been convened to address risk assessment of Salmonella spp. in broiler chickens and eggs and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods. In March 2001 FAO and WHO initiated risk assessment work on Campylobacter spp. in broiler chickens and Vibrio spp. in seafood, both of which were identified as priority issues by the CCFH (see Annex 2). Two ad hoc expert drafting groups were established to examine the available relevant information on the abovementioned pathogen-commodity combinations. These groups prepared background documentation on hazard identification, exposure assessment and hazard characterization of Campylobacter spp. in broiler chickens and Vibrio spp. in seafood. These documents were reviewed and evaluated by the joint expert consultation.
The purpose of this report is to present the summary of the draft documents on hazard identification, hazard characterization and exposure assessment on Campylobacter spp. in broiler chickens and Vibrio spp. in seafood as well as the discussions and recommendations of the expert consultation.