Food safety has always been an important issue, and currently it is high on the political agenda of many countries. Risk analysis has evolved over the last decade within the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). Risk analysis is now considered to be an integral part of the decision-making process of Codex. In addition to these developments in risk assessment, the 22nd Session of CAC requested FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) to convene an international advisory body on the microbiological aspects of food safety in order to address, in particular, microbiological risk assessments. Risk assessment is one of the components of risk analysis - which can be defined as being an overall strategy for addressing risk - that also includes risk management and risk communication. The risk assessment process is a means of providing an estimate of the probability and severity of illness attributable to a particular pathogen-commodity combination. As well as as a tool that can be used in the management of the risks posed by food-borne pathogens, risk assessment can also be used to justify the introduction of more stringent standards for imported foods.
Information, frameworks and tools, which are applicable to microbiological risk assessment the world over can be collected or elaborated and centralised. Undertaking microbiological risk assessment at the international level enables the identification of areas which are similar or common to a particular region or even to all countries. It enables the identification of available data on a global scale and equally important the areas where knowledge and data are lacking.
Undertaking this work at the international level results in the provision of valuable information on particular pathogen-commodity combination for use by risk managers at both the national and international levels.
It is important to recognise that risk assessment at the international level is substantially different from risk assessment at the national level. The library is an integral part of a project being developed by FAPESP - Fundacao de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Sao Paulo, in partnership with BIREME - the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information. The Project envisages the development of a common methodology for the preparation, storage, dissemination and evaluation of scientific literature in electronic format.
The site will be constantly updated both in form and content, according to the project's advancements.  help   SciELO interface provides access to its serials collection via an alphabetic list of titles or a subject list or a search form by word of serial titles, publisher names, city of publication and subject. The interface also provides access to the full text of articles via author index or subject index, or by a search form on article elements such as author names, words from title, subject, words from the full text and publication year. Performing a risk analysis, either at the logical or physical level in and around the information technology (IT) enterprise, is a complex and often confusing endeavor. The results of a risk assessment will never exceed the quality of the data used as input to the process. To understand how a risk assessment tool can assist in the process of identifying and quantifying risk, it is important to first understand what a risk analysis is.
Quantitative—Today's risk management requires a direct correlation to the value of the assets that require protection. The importance of the quantitative portion of the risk assessment is in knowing that the potential for loss is US $100,000 versus US $1 million. The risk assessment tools market is relatively small and is comprised of approximately a dozen companies, of which seven (see table 1) appear to garner the majority of the market share. The next major function of these products is to perform calculations to determine risk probability and ultimately rank risks by their level of importance. Each product adheres to one or more of the industry accepted risk standards, BS7799, ISO, DOD, HIPAA, etc., for identifying risks and suggesting safeguards. These products also have extensive databases of threats and vulnerabilities that are aligned to occurrence probability estimates.
Additionally, many of these products have been written by software programmers, as opposed to risk experts, and their quality of recommendations in safeguards, threats and vulnerabilities sometimes reflects a sophomoric approach to sophisticated risk management. Reporting is an area that separates these products in their approach to providing a customized method for presenting a risk profile.
Although most of these products are quite difficult to use without two to three days of training from the vendor or distributor, they can offer a substantial savings in time and resources when performing an enterprise-level risk analysis.
Organizations with a serious commitment to an infosec program should have one of these products incorporated within their risk management methodology to facilitate a uniform approach to identifying, reducing and managing risk. Since the Uruguay Round Trade Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) entered into force in 1995, the importance of risk analysis has increased. FAO and WHO subsequently convened a series of three expert consultations to address the three components of Risk analysis: risk assessment, risk management and risk communication. It delineated the basic terminology and principles of risk assessment and concluded that the analysis of risks associated with microbiological hazards presents unique challenges. CAC has adopted definitions of risk analysis terms related to food safety and statements of principle relating to the role of food safety risk assessment.


In response to this and as follow-up on their previous activities in the area of risk analysis, FAO and WHO convened an expert consultation in March 1999 to examine the issue of microbiological risk assessment (MRA) in an international forum. The importance of an overlap between these three elements (risk assessment, risk management and risk communication) is well recognized, but some functional separation is also necessary. The four-step process enables this to be carried out in a systematic manner, but the extent to which the steps are carried out will be dependent on the scope of the risk assessment. While MRA is becoming an important tool for assessing the risks to human health from food-borne pathogens and can be used in the elaboration of standards for food in international trade, it is not within the capacity of many, perhaps even most, countries to carry out a complete quantitative MRA. A knowledge of MRA is therefore also important for both health and economic purposes, and there is a need to provide countries with the tools for understanding and, if possible, carrying out MRA. This facilitates both the distribution and accessibility of the technology and related information. It cannot consider the situation in all countries and therefore tends to be more generic in nature and cannot capture local scenarios and country to country variations e.g. Ultimately, international work is very dependant on national and regional expertise and data. Arriving at an accurate risk profile is equally difficult, but needed to identify one's risk and subsequently manage or mitigate the threats and vulnerabilities that create the risk.
Programmers understand the concept of garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) and this universal truth applies to risk management equally, if not more.
It simply is the process of identifying the potential for possible harm to occur to a particular set of assets or processes and determining the impact. More complex enterprises or those with limited budgets require a more advanced form of risk analysis.
So qualitatively one knows that an asset is worth US $1 million and that a tornado could occur at some point in the future. The concept is based on the precept that no asset faces 100 percent risk, 100 percent of the time.
This is a boutique industry where the companies generally are headed by an acknowledged expert in the field of risk management and have been in business for 10 years or more. However, as a result of the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the events of 11 September 2001, they are growing in acceptance throughout the US. Each product is questionnaire-based and requires the user to answer myriad questions about their organization, technology, environment, geography, asset value, etc. The ability for a risk assessment tool to calculate loss estimates, such as ALE, and financial metrics, such as cost of risk mitigation and ROI, is an indication of its comprehensiveness. In fact, many of these products sell versions or templates to address specific risk areas, such as HIPAA, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, etc. The framework utilized in the POPs Toolkit has been adopted primarily from Health Canada’s PQRA (Preliminary Quantitative Risk Assessment) guidance for conducting human health risk assessments (Health Canada, 2004). More complicated risk assessments, site specific risk assessments (SSRAs), will contain additional exposure and toxicity analysis, and risk characterization.
More than ever before, there is strong consumer awareness of food quality and safety, and this continues to increase. Furthermore, in 1999, it adopted the Principles and Guidelines for the Conduct of Microbiological Risk Assessment. The main outcome of this expert consultation was an outline strategy and mechanism for addressing MRA at the international level. In relation to risk assessment, such separation ensures that issues are addressed in a transparent manner using a scientific basis. This can be defined clearly by the risk manager through ongoing dialogue with the risk assessor. This need, combined with CAC's and CCFH's requests for scientific advice on MRA, has led FAO and WHO to undertake a programme of activities to address the issue of MRA at the international level. However, the process of identifying, quantifying and associating risk to assets falls just short of rocket science for most people. There are, however, software products that provide a methodology and structure to the entire risk analysis process. There are, of course, varying degrees of risk analysis, with each providing differing views of an organization's risk posture. Adding the quantitative component to a qualitative risk assessment ensures that the safeguards deployed are commensurate with the value of assets or processes at risk. The total number of risk assessment tools in active use today is less than 12,000 worldwide.
The 2003 worldwide revenue for risk management software tools that specifically address the IT community is projected at US $35 million.


In some cases, there are more than 500 individual questions that must be answered to produce a risk profile.
Risk analysis tools need to be able to measure the potential for loss that a threat could have on an organization.
It is best to evaluate which product most closely aligns to each organization's risk management philosophy. When evaluating these types of products it is best to consider how the data are presented once the analysis has been completed. And one also must understand that the end product of the risk analysis will be commensurate with the quality of the input and accuracy of the answers to the questionnaires.
However, one must remember that these products have their limitations and cannot replace sound risk management judgment or experience.
He is responsible for the development of highly secure and sustainable applications and infrastructure. The framework used is similar to those approaches used elsewhere in North America and in Europe.
New risks and challenges are emerging as a result of changes in the methods of food production at the farm and processing levels. These were developed by the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH), which is currently developing Principles and Guidelines for the Conduct of Microbiological Risk Management. There is an art (and science) to performing risk assessments, which may explain why so few organizations conduct them well, or at all. This article looks at these tools, creates a framework of understanding and provides insight into the world of automated risk analysis. To find this information, an advanced risk analysis technique, known as a quantitative approach, is used to provide statistical insight to risk prediction and impact. The more sophisticated products also allow one to import or link to data from penetration tests, intelligence reports or other risk-gathering formats. Not all of the products noted provide ROI modules as this is a relatively recent development in the science of risk management. One must be careful to recognize that not all of these will provide sufficient information to make an informed decision on selecting an appropriate risk mitigation strategy. It identified 21 pathogen-commodity combinations of concern and prioritized these according to such criteria as the significance of the public health problem, the extent of the problem in relation to geographic distribution and international trade and the availability of data and other information with which to conduct a risk assessment. However, calculating risk is no different from programming an application to perform a prescribed function.
This method requires that one establish a monetary value for the assets and processes, estimate the probability of a threat occurring, and determine the ROI for implementing safeguards to reduce the impact caused by that threat occurring. Questionnaires also can be allocated across numerous external locations with the results rolled into a composite risk profile. Consumption patterns and consumer demands regarding such issues as the variety and shelf-life of foods, as well as the preservation techniques used, are changing.
CCFH suggested that FAO and WHO convene ad hoc expert consultations to provide advice on MRA, and also recommended that these consultations be conducted according to the format outlined at the 1999 expert consultation. Also, using incorrect threat and vulnerability assumptions to determine one's risk profile and posture can be costly in terms of money and lives.
Qualitatively and quantitatively, all the necessary data are available to produce a credible risk assessment statement. He also spent several years with the Sprint Corporation as its practice principal for disaster recovery and security. International trade in food has also increased the risk of infectious agents being disseminated from the original point of production to locations thousands of kilometres away.
He has appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS and is the author of The Encyclopedia of Risk Disaster Recovery, Security, & Risk Management as well as numerous articles and white papers on the subject of risk management. The consequence of this is that there is an increased risk to human health as well as implications for international trade in food and ultimately the food producers. This involves looking into all parts of the food chain and linking this with the human health outcome. However the implementation of such a holistic approach to food safety is not necessarily an easy one as it requires the expertise, interaction and collaboration of a wide range of people of many different backgrounds and professions. The development of the risk analysis process has however provided us with a tool to make this possible.



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