How university researchers can contribute to farm-to-table risk assessments: Listeria monocytogenes as an example.


As a part of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) agreement, the World Trade Organization requires that member countries establish SPS measures on the basis of an appropriate risk assessment. In addition, many governments use risk assessment in their management of food safety. Consequently, a number of risk assessments for different foodborne pathogens have been conducted. Risk assessments have also been successfully used as a research tool. While, historically, risk assessments are typically initiated by government agencies, university-based researchers are increasingly becoming involved in risk assessments. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the role that university researchers can play in the development and refinement of food safety risk assessments, including possible roles in (1) de novo development or refinement of risk assessment (including farm-to-table risk assessment), (2) data collection supporting risk assessments, and (3) development of new methodological techniques. Transmission of the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes through the food production chain and risk assessments addressing transmission of this pathogen are used as an example to highlight the roles of university researchers in food safety risk assessments.

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