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A Risk-Based Farm to Fork Food Safety Information System



R S Morris and P R Davies
Massey University Epicentre
Massey University
Palmerston North, New Zealand

In recent years considerable attention has been focused on improved mechanisms for protecting consumers against microbiological and chemical hazards which may be present in food. Yet there is as yet no widely used system in place to give consumers confidence that this objective is being met.

No system will be perfect, but a risk-based system will be much more practical and effective in reducing the exposure of consumers to these hazards than one based on classical inspection techniques which are recognized to be high cost but poorly effective, and will also be superior to one based on a formulaic or process approach such as HACCP.

Work will be described which is progressively constructing the components of a system in which the hazard-specific risks will be evaluated in real time for meat products at each stage of production and processing through to presentation in the supermarket, using information gathered for quality assurance purposes. Each animal and its products will be tracked through the production and marketing chain, and risk assessments for each of the significant hazards will be computed in real time using an expert system approach already developed for risk analyses. Disposition and further processing of food items can be adjusted to take account of assessed risks, and both feedback and feedforward can be provided to producers, processors and others in the marketing chain to guide current and future actions. The system is intended to be evolutionary in nature, and it will be designed to take account of new knowledge and echnologies, progressively building such information into its approach as the evidence becomes available. The features of the system will be illustrated, and a strategy for its further development and implementation will be described.





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