Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2013

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Symposium: Expecting the Unexpected: Risk Informed Policies & Procedures to Predict, Detect & Control Emerging Food Safety Risk

Room: Key Ballroom 4   3:30 PM - 5:10 PM

Chair(s): Karin Hoelzer

M4-D.1  15:30  Risk Communication: Preparing for the Unexpected. DeWaal CS*; Center for Science in the Public Interest

Abstract: Risk communication is a central aspect of risk analysis. This multi-faceted activity is essential to effectively managing a food safety event, including an outbreak of disease or food/ingredient contamination event. Broadly defined, it encompasses communication between technical experts, regulators and the public about threats to health, safety or the environment. During a food safety emergency, dissemination of accurate information is essential. Risk communicators armed with a strong understanding of underlying risks and using non-technical terms can ensure that the public responds to a food safety hazard appropriately, and reduces the likelihood of the dissemination of misinformation leading to increased consumer concern. This paper will examine two case studies on risk communication, including the emergence of BSE in the US and antibiotic resistance in foodborne pathogens. It will also discuss databases available to assist risk communicators.

M4-D.2  15:50  Produce Industry Perspective: Predicting the Unpredictable. Gombas D*; United Fresh

Abstract: Protecting consumers is the top priority of the fresh produce industry. But, without a “kill step”, produce food safety must rely on prevention of contamination at every point in the supply chain, from field to fork. Good Agricultural Practices(GAPs) have been successfully used to prevent large scale contamination events in the field. Yet recalls and outbreaks linked to fresh produce demonstrate that GAPs cannot be the entire answer. So how does the industry proceed? This session will explore the industry’s current path, how speculations can divert food safety resources from more effective practices, and how opportunities have been missed in developing better approaches to predict, prevent and detect sporadic contamination events.

M4-D.3  16:10  Application of quantitative microbial risk assessments to address critical and emerging food safety issues . Pradhan AK*; University of Maryland, College Park

Abstract: Many foodborne pathogens including the zoonotic ones continue to cause significant disease burden worldwide. These pathogens cause considerable public health impact and are a major concern to food industries and regulatory agencies. In a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it has been estimated that three pathogens, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and parasite Toxoplasma gondii, together account for more than 70% of all estimated deaths in the U.S. per year attributed to foodborne pathogens. Salmonella spp. and Toxoplasma gondii with 28% and 24% of total deaths were ranked the first and second in terms of estimated annual deaths. Given the current emphasis on risk-based approaches to evaluate food safety issues, both in industry and regulatory agencies, and to develop risk-informed polices and strategies, it is critical to provide science-based information that will aid in better understanding and managing food safety risks arising from different pathogens. Recent advances in microbial risk assessments provide tools for modeling food systems in a systematic and objective way for making better informed food safety decisions and for evaluating potential intervention strategies. In this presentation, the importance of information and data collection, and applications of quantitative microbial risk assessments to address critical food safety issues will be discussed with respect to case studies such as Salmonella in dry pet foods and Toxoplasma gondii in organic or free range meats. The recent outbreaks of salmonellosis associated with dry pet foods and treats have considerably emphasized the role of dry pet foods as a vehicle of pathogen exposure for both pets and their owners. In the CDC report, it has been estimated that 50% of all human exposures to Toxoplasma gondii are foodborne, thus making this parasite a serious food safety concern.

M4-D.4  16:30  Using Geospatial risk assessment to forecast produce contamination potential. Oryang D*, Fanaselle F, Anyamba A, Small J; Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Abstract: New responsibilities and challenges require FDA to develop innovative tools and approaches to protect the food safety and public health. Risk assessment is increasingly used to support the science basis of, and inform decision making. In a novel approach, geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing are being used by FDA, in collaboration with other agencies, to enhance the capabilities of risk assessment to take into account spatial and temporal dimensions, and thereby forecast where and when produce contamination events are more likely to occur. The GIS model requires an assessment of: hazards found in fresh produce; contamination modes; production practices (such as soil amendment, and irrigation water sources and systems), factors that impact growth and spread of pathogens; environmental impacts of urbanization and industrialization; livestock and wildlife population and proximity to crops; topography and soil types; microbial status of surface water, wells, and reservoirs proximate to crops, and used for irrigation; and impacts of temperature, rainfall, irradiation, fog, and extreme events on contamination likelihood and amounts. These factors vary spatially and temporally, and acquiring geospatial and time series data on these factors, is crucial to the development of this novel system. This paper presents a synopsis of the effort by FDA, NASA, USDA-ARS, and USDA-APHIS to compile the data necessary to develop this geospatial risk assessment forecasting tool to provide early warning to industry and government about future potential locations, modes, and dates of produce contamination. This approach will enable industry and government to take the necessary pre-emptive measures to prevent contaminated produce from entering the food supply and causing illness/death.

M4-D.5  16:50  Listeria monocytogenes and produce – a previously discounted public health risk. Hoelzer K*, Pouillot R; Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Abstract: Traditionally, fresh produce has been regarded as an unlikely vehicle for listeriosis, but large produce-related outbreaks have led to a paradigm shift in recent years. Notably, in 2003, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a quantitative assessment of the relative risk to public health from foodborne Listeria monocytogenes among selected categories of ready-to-eat foods. This risk assessment identified fresh fruits and vegetables as posing an overall low to moderate risk of listeriosis, and highlighted important data gaps. In response to these findings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioned a risk profile to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the available data on this fresh fruits and vegetables as a vehicle for L. monocytogenes, and to evaluate the effectiveness of current and potential interventions. In this presentation, the key findings of the risk profile will be summarized, followed by a discussion of lessons learned about the predictive ability of risk assessments and the inherent challenges of predicting thus-far unrecognized public health risks.

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