Sécurité sanitaire et qualité des aliments

Risk-based approaches and tools

Food Safety Risk Analysis

Risk analysis is a structured internationally accepted framework that provides national food safety authorities with a systematic and disciplined approach for making evidence-based food safety decisions. It consists of three interactive components, risk assessment, risk management and risk communication, which serve to develop an estimate of the risks to human health and safety, identify and implement appropriate measures to control the risks, and communicate with stakeholders about the risks and the measures applied.

Supporting national food safety authorities to apply risk based approaches

FAO and WHO help develop the capacity of national food safety authorities and regulators in:

  • understanding internationally-accepted approaches applied in chemical and microbiological risk assessments as a basis for evaluation of domestic food safety risks;
  • ensuring the risk analysis approach is used appropriately to address  the specific food safety challenges and agreed priorities to ensure consumer protection and development of the agro-processing / food trade sectors;
  • strengthening national efforts to generate data required to support sound risk assessments appropriate to the specific context at stake;
  • applying risk analysis to support national-level decision-making in food safety management;
  • promoting transparency, stakeholder involvement and better coordination among government agencies involved in food safety issues at the national level, as well as with other relevant stakeholders ( private sector, civil society, trading partners);
  • facilitating harmonisation of regulatory measures and standards among countries and across regions.

A wide range of resource materials and tools have been developed that underpin this work – these are featured below. Furthermore, work is ongoing to develop additional resources that will allow countries to apply risk-based approaches in a variety of settings, including:

Risk analysis toolkit with practical tools and training materials tailored to specific audiences, as well as more focused web-based tools to support risk management decisions.

Guide on Risk Categorization to help Competent Authorities categorize food business operators based on risk to support improved inspection planning and reporting.

Guide to ranking food safety risks to provide direction to national food safety authorities in low resource settings on how to start ranking the public health risk posed by foodborne hazards as a first step toward a systematic and evidence-based approach to identify the most significant risks in the area of food safety.

See Risk Analysis and risk based approaches publications

Microbiological Risk Assessment Series

This Microbiological Risk Assessment series provides a range of data and information to those who need to understand or undertake MRA. It comprises risk assessments of particular pathogen-commodity combinations, interpretative summaries of the risk assessments, guidelines for undertaking and using risk assessment and reports addressing other pertinent aspects of MRA. This series provide a greater insight into MRA, how it is undertaken and how it can be used.

The Microbiological Risk Assessment Series contain information that is useful to risk managers such as the Codex Alimentarius, governments and food regulatory agencies, scientists, food producers and industries and other people or institutions working in the area of microbiological hazards in foods, their impact on human health and food trade and their control.

Access and read all issues of the Microbiological Risk Assessment Series

Risk Analysis Tools

FAO and WHO are developing accessible and user-friendly tools for the wider food safety community to support the uptake of risk-based food safety community. The Joint FAO/WHO Expert meetings on microbiological risk assessment (JEMRA) introduces in details these risk analysis tools.