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Microbiological Risk Assessment in Developing Countries

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Microbiological risk assessment (MRA) has been evolving at the national and international levels as a systematic and objective approach for evaluating information pertaining to microbiological hazards in foods and the risks they pose. This process has been catalyzed by international food trade requirements to base sanitary measures on sound scientific evidence and appropriate risk assessments. All countries, including developing countries, need to understand and use MRA. MRA is resource intensive, as has been demonstrated by some of the the assessments undertaken in industrialized countries. However, when used in the appropriate circumstances MRA offers many benefits. The process of undertaking MRA improves the understanding of key issues, enables an objective evaluation of risk management options, and provides a scientific justification for actions. Although the gap between developing countries and some industrialized countries is quite extensive with regard to MRA, many developing countries recognize the need to at least understand and move toward using MRA. This process requires development of infrastructure and enhancement of scientific and technical expertise while making optimal use of limited resources. International organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, are in a position to provide countries with guidance, training, information resources, and technical assistance to develop and/or strengthen food safety infrastructure. Enhanced cooperation and collaboration at all levels are needed for such efforts to be successful and to ensure that MRA, as a food safety tool, is available to all countries.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Food Quality and Standards Service, Food and Nutrition Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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