Skip to main content

Choices, Choices: The Application of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis to a Food Safety Decision-Making Problem

Buy Article:

$37.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


In the food safety arena, the decision-making process can be especially difficult. Decision makers are often faced with social and fiscal pressures when attempting to identify an appropriate balance among several choices. Concurrently, policy and decision makers in microbial food safety are under increasing pressure to demonstrate that their policies and decisions are made using transparent and accountable processes. In this article, we present a multi-criteria decision analysis approach that can be used to address the problem of trying to select a food safety intervention while balancing various criteria. Criteria that are important when selecting an intervention were determined, as a result of an expert consultation, to include effectiveness, cost, weight of evidence, and practicality associated with the interventions. The multi-criteria decision analysis approach we present is able to consider these criteria and arrive at a ranking of interventions. It can also provide a clear justification for the ranking as well as demonstrate to stakeholders, through a scenario analysis approach, how to potentially converge toward common ground. While this article focuses on the problem of selecting food safety interventions, the range of applications in the food safety arena is truly diverse and can be a significant tool in assisting decisions that need to be coherent, transparent, and justifiable. Most importantly, it is a significant contributor when there is a need to strike a fine balance between various potentially competing alternatives and/or stakeholder groups.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Public Health Agency of Canada, Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Guelph, Ontario, Canada 2: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Animal Health Risk Assessment Unit, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada 3: Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: November 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • IAFP Members with personal subscriptions to JFP Online: To access full-text JFP or JMFT articles, you must sign-in in the upper-right corner using your Ingenta sign-in details (your IAFP Member Login does not apply to this website).

    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) 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.

    Print and online subscriptions are available to IAFP Members and institutional subscribers. IAFP Members with a subscription to JFP Online will have access to all available JFP and JMFT content. Online visitors who are not IAFP Members or journal subscribers will be charged on a pay-per-view basis. Membership and subscription information is available at
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • Information for Advertisers
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more