Hazard Analysis: The Link between Epidemiology and Microbiology

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Epidemiologic inquiry, collation of data and statistical calculations are useful in identifying the place foods were mishandled or mistreated and the probable vehicle of foodborne disease. Biases during collection of information and classification of cases and control can lead to false conclusions. Laboratory analyses can confirm the etiologic agent and vehicle if an appropriate sample is collected, and sometimes trace the source of the etiologic agent. Laboratory analyses may give negative or misleading results depending on the samples collected and the quantity of samples collected. Hazard analyses are necessary to determine the mode of contamination, the means by which the pathogen survived processing, and the conditions that allowed the pathogenic bacteria to increase to populations or elaborate toxins sufficient to cause the illness. Hazard analysis is the link between epidemiology and microbiology that identifies events that contributed to the causation of outbreaks and, hence, provides information upon which to initiate control actions and to base preventive measures.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Food Safety Consultation and Training, Lithonia, Georgia 30058 USA

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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