The risk analysis approach has been adopted within the Codex system and used as the fundamental method underlying the development of food safety standards. The Consultation therefore saw one of its tasks as to provide an assessment of the risk of foodborne hazards that enter the food chain via feeds.
Risk analysis is composed of three separate but integrated elements, namely risk assessment, risk management and risk communication. Risk assessment has been defined by Codex as being the scientific evaluation of known or potential adverse effects resulting from human exposure to foodborne hazards. The risk assessment process consists of the following steps: (i) hazard identification, (ii) hazard characterization, (iii) exposure assessment, and, (iv) risk characterization. The definition includes quantitative risk assessment, which emphasises reliance on numerical expressions of risk, as well as an indication of the attendant uncertainties. Hazard identification is defined as the identification of known or potential health effects associated with a particular agent. Exposure assessment is the qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of the degree of intake likely to occur. Risk characterization is the integration of hazard identification, hazard characterization and exposure assessment into an estimation of the adverse effects likely to occur in a given population, including attendant uncertainties. For chemical agents, a dose/response assessment should be performed. For biological or physical agents, a dose-response assessment for hazards should be performed if the data are available or obtainable.
In general terms, the Consultation recognised that there are risks arising from foodborne hazards that enter the food chain via feeds. However, on balance, the judgement was that the risk of these hazards was low in comparison to foodborne hazards that originate from other sources. The risks from Salmonellae for example, may be considerably greater during processing of carcasses and subsequent animal product processing. The exposure to mycotoxins is far greater from eating contaminated cereal grains than from eating foods derived from animals fed contaminated grains.