The expert consultation endorsed the recommendations made by the joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Microbiological Hazards in Foods that took place on 17 - 21 July 2000.
In addition the consultation recommended that:
Interaction between the risk assessors and the risk managers should begin at an early stage in the risk assessment process. A clear definition of the risk management question is essential in order to ensure that the risk assessment is correctly targeted and interaction is essential to achieving this.
In order to improve data collection and generation for microbiological risk assessment the consultation recommended that:
FAO and WHO develop a form to be completed by CCFH and member countries when requesting risk assessment advice from the ad hoc expert consultations on microbiological risk assessment. The form should request basic elements of a risk profile and a clear question to be addressed in the risk assessment to be carried out.
FAO and WHO develop guidelines for the collection of data to ensure that the quality of data collected for use in risk assessment is comparable between countries. These guidelines should address sampling strategies and methods of data analysis and generation of microbiological data from food and clinical specimens
Data required to strengthen risk assessments be obtained from purposefully designed studies that withstand the criticisms of the various scientific disciplines that participate in microbiological risk assessment.
FAO and WHO facilitate the development of surveillance systems with the view to data generation for quantitative microbiological risk assessment and enhancing the interaction between epidemiologists and the other disciplines involved in risk assessment.
Member countries promote the collection of high-quality data and optimise their food safety research, surveillance programmes, outbreak investigations, food testing activities and monitoring of microbial hazards throughout the food chain so that the data generated can support national and international microbiological food safety risk assessments
Research is undertaken so that the importance of factors such as the influence of climate and season in different regions in the world, which could not be determined or considered in the current work, can be addressed in the future.
In order to improve the modelling approaches used in microbiological risk assessment the consultation recommended that:
Further work is undertaken to illustrate the use of various levels of sophistication in calculations for quantitative risk assessment, and defining specific situations that need a certain level of sophistication. The work should include a description of problems in the modelling of microbial pathogens (and validation of such models) and the development of a means to communicate such problems and their resolution to all parties involved in the development and use of quantitative microbiological risk assessments.
FAO and WHO co-ordinate research to explain or reconcile the different approaches used in the development of dose-response models.
That careful consideration be given to the use of expert opinion to estimate the value of model inputs as on some occasions expert opinion might reduce transparency and introduce an unacceptable bias that may not be detected by the risk assessors.
In order to facilitate the use of risk assessment in addressing microbiological food safety issues the consultation recommended that:
Member countries embrace the risk analysis approach to ensure optimal allocation of resources in foodborne disease and food control programs. As part of this member countries need to develop the capacity and expertise in the various disciplines involved in microbiological risk assessment and also ensure that these disciplines become effectively integrated into the risk assessment process.
FAO, WHO, their member countries, the scientific community and the food industry strengthen their technical co-operation in order to enhance risk assessment capabilities and capacities at national and international levels. Support by FAO and WHO for training is required to assist in the transfer of technology for microbiological risk assessment especially for developing countries.
FAO and WHO make educational materials on microbiological risk assessment available for use by member countries.