Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2017

Session Schedule & Abstracts

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Common abbreviations

Symposium: Methods of Quantifying Risk and Burden of Foodborne Illness

Room: Salon C   8:30 am–10:00 am

Chair(s): Ioana Marasteanu

Sponsored by Decision Analysis and Risk Specialty Group

Although the quality and safety of food produced and sold in the United States remains high, foodborne illness outbreaks continue to occur. Quantifying the risk of foodborne illnesses, along with the burden associated with them, provides stakeholders and the general public with a means of understanding the relative impact of different foodborne infections in the United States, and helps inform regulatory food safety policy discussions and decision-making. In this symposium, presenters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (from both the Economics and Retail Food Protection staff) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Economic Research Service) use unique data and models to discuss methods for analyzing the risk and burden associated with foodborne illness. This symposium will address methods in quantifying the risk of foodborne illness associated with food handling behaviors at the retail and household levels; methods in weighting foodborne illness risk by per capita consumption; methods in evaluating the risk associated with norovirus transmission to consumers through food contaminated by infected food employees in retail food establishments; and how the evolution of methods of quantifying the societal burden of foodborne illness impacts food safety regulations.

W1-C.1  8:30 am  Estimating the Risk of Foodborne Illness Attributed to Food Handling Behaviors in Retail Food Establishments and Households. Marasteanu IJ*, Liggans G, Otto J, Lasher A; FDA

Abstract: The prevention of foodborne illness remains a significant priority to public health agencies in the United States. Given the prevalence of multiple contributing factors that can lead to foodborne illness at both the retail and household levels, it is important to understand how individual food handling practices combine to impact the incidence of foodborne illness. This study discusses the components, assumptions, and applications of the Food Handling Practices Model (FHPM), developed as part of a collaboration between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International. The FHPM is a quantitative model that tracks servings of food (1,127,245,021,184 annually) as they go through various stages leading to noticeable foodborne illness. The model consists of 1,546 parameters and assumes interlinked binomial random variables. It runs Monte Carlo simulations based on inputted parameters, and estimates the number foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths associated with the specified parameters. Baseline and change scenarios are compared to assess the change in risk due to changes in food handling practices. Among many change scenarios presented, the top 5 contributing factors leading to foodborne illness at the retail level (household level) are found to be: inappropriate behavior related to cooling (room temperature holding), thawing (thawing), cold holding (raw or lightly cooked food), advance preparation (cooking), and hot holding (cooling). Change scenario results can be inferred from each other because the model is linear and the results of most change scenarios are independent. The FHPM is an important tool in analyzing risk associated with food handling practices at the retail and household level, and can inform policy makers’ decisions relating to food safety interventions.

W1-C.2  8:50 am  Restriction of recently ill food-preparation employees in retail food establishments: Evaluation of risk assessment results on foodborne norovirus transmission. Fanaselle W*, Pouillot R, Liggans G, Williams L, Van Doren J; Federal Government/ U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Abstract: In 2017, an FDA risk assessment evaluated the risk associated with norovirus transmission to consumers through food contaminated by infected food employees in retail food establishments. The assessment focused on the risk of norovirus transmission from ill or recently ill food employees preparing foods, and evaluated the potential public health impact on viral transmission from ill or infected food employees, based on compliance with exclusion and prevention strategies. Some retail food establishments use a public health intervention strategy called “restriction” that involves limiting work activities of recently ill food employees and is a recommendation in the FDA Food Code (§2-201.12). In this presentation, we will discuss further evaluation of the 2017 risk-assessment model, regarding the public-health impact of restriction; specifically, examining different applications of limited hand contact in retail food establishments, handwashing frequency, glove use, and bare-hand contact of non-food-contact equipment for the restricted food employee. We evaluated the risk to consumers from restricted food employees who are asymptomatic or who return to work before their symptoms end. The quantitative model uses a discrete-event framework that allows descriptions of various consecutive tasks of food employees. The results provide further insights and information for risk managers to consider when developing strategies for limiting transmission of foodborne norovirus illness in retail food establishments.

W1-C.3  9:10 am  Evolution of the Value of the Burden of Foodborne Illness in Regulatory Analysis. Lasher A*; FDA

Abstract: As required by Executive Order 12866 and strengthened by Executive Order 13563, regulatory agencies are required to perform impact analyses to determine the societal costs and benefits of any proposed regulatory action. Since the early 1990s, FDA has made use of the Quality of Well-Being scale and then the EuroQol- 5 Dimensions scale to value pain and suffering from foodborne illness. Over this time period the value applied to this pain and suffering, in the form of a value of a statistical life (VSL), has varied. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how evolving methods over time, and changes to the VSL used, can affect the net benefits of proposed regulatory actions in the realm of food safety. Results of previous regulatory actions are examined with changing values of statistical life. These hypothesized changes in VSL allow for a re-examination of the net benefits of previous food safety regulations.

W1-C.4  9:30 am  An Exposure Weighted Measure of Foodborne Illness Risk in Regulatory Analysis. Astill GM*; Economic Research Service, USDA

Abstract: The new rules under the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act focus on prevention of foodborne illness by using a flexible approach informed by risk. The majority of previous research on sources of foodborne illness use the share of illnesses attributable to a certain commodity, but exposure to the commodity is also an important factor. Research that considers per capita consumption does so at an aggregate level combining fruit and vegetable categories. This article develops a foodborne illness risk ranking that accounts for consumption of the eight major animal product food categories as well as for 28 fruit and vegetable commodities. Heavily consumed commodities like milk, chicken, and beef are found to be less risky relative to other commodities when weighted by exposure, while lightly consumed commodities like fish & shellfish, chili peppers, and green beans are found to be more risky.

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