Food safety

Risk characterization of Salmonella spp. in eggs and broiler chickens and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods, a joint FAO/WHO expert consultation, Rome, Italy, 30 April - 4 May 2001

Background

Risk assessment of microbiological hazards in foods has been identified as a priority area of work for the Codex Alimentarius Commission. At its 32nd session the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) identified a list of pathogen-commodity combinations that require expert risk assessment advice. In response, FAO and WHO, jointly launched a programme of work with the objective of providing expert advice on risk assessment of microbiological hazards in foods to their Member countries and to the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

To implement this programme of work, FAO and WHO are convening a series of joint expert consultations. The first of these was held in July 2000. In order to facilitate the work of the consultation, temporary drafting groups examined three pathogen-commodity combinations, namely Salmonella spp. in broilers and eggs and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods. These were among the priority issues identified by the CCFH. The drafting groups prepared documentation on both the exposure assessment and hazard characterisation steps of the risk assessment and these documents were then reviewed and evaluated by the joint expert consultation in July 2000. The report of the expert consultation summarizes the meeting's findings and includes advice and guidance on hazard characterization and exposure assessment of these pathogen-commodity combinations for consideration by FAO/WHO Member countries and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

In October 2000 this report was delivered to the 33rd session of the CCFH, which then defined more focused risk management questions on risk assessment of these pathogen-commodity combinations. The drafting groups on Salmonella spp. in broilers and eggs and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods are now preparing the final step of the risk assessment (the risk characterization step) to address the questions posed by the CCFH. These documents will form the basis of the discussions of the Expert Consultation on 30 April - 4 May.

Objectives

The consultation will examine the information provided by the drafting groups on risk characterization of Salmonella spp. in broilers and eggs and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods with the following objectives:

  • To critically review the risk assessments giving particular attention to the assumptions on which the risk assessments are based.
  • To use the risk assessments of Salmonella spp. in broilers and eggs and Listeria monocytogenes
  • To provide advice and guidance on how the FAO/WHO risk assessments on Salmonella spp. in broilers and eggs and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods can be adapted by FAO/WHO Member countries to their national situations.
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