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Quantification of risks to consumers’ health and to company’s incomes due to failures in food safety

Food Control
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2006.10.005
  • Food Quality
  • Food Safety
  • Quantitative Risk Assessment
  • Farm To Fork
  • Economics


Abstract Quality assurance systems are required at each step in the food production chain to ensure safety of food and to show compliance with regulatory and customer requirements. This is a matter affecting food companies too as part of the business activity and a challenge since they are the main beneficiary, i.e. economically, when it offers a safe product and the worst affected otherwise. Thus, failures in food safety endanger not only consumers’ health but also put at risk the company’s profitability. This paper introduces the fundamentals and an example of application of the use of quantitative risk assessment (QRA) to estimate the risk to consumers’ health and the induced company’s economic losses, which can be of great support for the risk-informed decision-making in the food processing context. The information provided by the QRA could be used in this food industry context to prioritize the safety management measures needed according to real importance of the main hazards identified for a particular food processing, which simultaneously would better protect the consumer’s health and be cost effective and efficient for the food industry. The example of application of this QRA on Listeria monocytogenes in raw fish shows that the risk for consumers’ health imposed by the product of this company ranges normal values as compared with the survey in FDA/USDA and the risk for the company due to induced economic losses stays low in average, although an upper bound for such losses over a year period has been found significant due to both direct and indirect costs.

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