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Framework for Identification and Collection of Data Useful for Risk Assessments of Microbial Foodborne or Waterborne Hazards: A Report from the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation Advisory Committee on Data Collection for Microbial Risk Assessment

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A microbial risk assessment (MRA) can provide the scientific basis for risk management decision making. Much data are needed to complete an MRA, including quantitative data for pathogens in foods. The purpose of this document was to provide information on data needs and data collection approaches for MRAs that will be useful for national governments, particularly in developing countries. A framework was developed, which included the following activities: (i) identify the purpose of data collection—this should include stating the specific question(s) to be addressed; (ii) identify and gather existing data—this should include a determination of whether the data are sufficient to answer questions to be addressed; (iii) develop and implement a data collection strategy; (iv) analyze data and draw conclusions; and (v) use data to answer questions identified at the start of the process. The key data needs identified for an MRA were as follows: (i) burden of foodborne or waterborne disease; (ii) microbial contamination of foods; and (iii) consumption patterns. In addition, dose-response data may be necessary, if existing dose-response data cannot be used to estimate dose response for the population of interest. Data should be collected with a view to its use in risk management decision making. Standard sampling and analysis methods should be used to ensure representative samples are tested, and care should be taken to avoid bias when selecting data sets. A number of barriers to data collection were identified, including a lack of clear understanding of the type of data needed to undertake an MRA, which is addressed in this document.

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Research Foundation, Risk Science Institute, One Thomas Circle N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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