Early signals for emerging food safety risks: From past cases to future identification
van de Brug, F.J.
Lucas Luijckx, N.B.
During the last decades multiple unexpected and wide spread food safety incidents have occurred. The aim of this study is to learn from the past by studying the early emergence of historic food safety risks and apply these lessons for future early identification of emerging food safety risks. Information on the early signals preceding the emergence of thirteen diverse food safety incidents was collected, categorized and evaluated. It was found that in all cases early signals did precede the actual emergence of the incidents. The time interval between early signal and emergence varied between some months to multiple decades. Almost all early signals identified originated from two textual data sources: science and food safety authorities. It is concluded that in order to detect early signals semantic relationships between three key hazard concepts (food, substance and adverse health effect) must be extracted primarily from these data sources. A conceptual emerging food hazard model to visualize the concepts and relationships is proposed. When new information or a change in information is found for the hazard concepts a new food safety hazard may be emerging. Furthermore, we present the design of the Emerging Risk Identification Support system (ERIS) to support the risk manager with the identification of emerging risks. Some key factors for identifying emerging hazards (or risks) and the requirements of information systems to support this are discussed. With a functional system at hand and using science based information, the risk manager will be able to develop scenarios and, subsequently, the risk manager can initiate measures pro-actively to influence the development of the emerging risks.
To reference this document use:
QS - Quality & Safety
ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences
Food and Nutrition
Food Control, 39, 75-86