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Risk analysis

Rome workshop - ©FAO / Giulio Napolitano
Assessing the risks to guide national food safety programmes

Risk analysis provides policy makers with the information and evidence they need for effective and transparent decision-making, contributing to better food safety outcomes and improvements in public health. The risk analysis paradigm consisting of risk assessment, risk management and risk communication functions is internationally accepted as the best means to develop food safety standards and systems for global food safety.

It provides national food safety authorities with a systematic and disciplined approach for making evidence-based food safety decisions. It is used to:

  • develop an estimate of the risks to human health and safety
  • identify and implement appropriate measures to control the risks
  • communicate with stakeholders about the risks and the measures applied

Subsequently, with greater knowledge of food safety priority risks, elements of official food control systems will be updated and continually improved to address them. This may result in increased frequency of testing of certain foods, more targeted inspection of sectors of food production or specific producers or processors, introduction of a new regulation or standard, or set of standards, greater preparedness for food safety emergencies.

The risk analysis approach will also enhance communication and coordination between public and private sectors, eg. scientists with policy makers, inter-Ministerial and government with food chain operators.

Diagram illustrating risk communication

We assist food safety regulators in:

  • understanding and applying a risk analysis approach for developing effective national food safety programmes based on science and a logical strengthening of the existing food control system.
  • ensuring the risk analysis approach is tailored to the specific food safety challenges and agreed priorities to address consumer protection, and development of the agro-processing and food trade sectors.
  • accessing available international information including scientific advice and Codex standards as a basis for improving national food safety controls and standards

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