Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2017

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: From Regulating to Communicating Food Safety Risks, Costs, and Benefits: Practitioners' Challenges and Solutions

Room: Salon A   1:30 pm–3:00 pm

Chair(s): Aliya Sassi

Sponsored by Economics and Benefits Analysis Specialty Group and Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis

This symposium identifies examples of how regulatory agencies apply current methods and innovative approaches to examining, regulating, and communicating food safety risks. The aim is to provide examples of challenges we faced and methods we have used to overcome these challenges. In four presentations we show how 1) a variety of methods and creative approaches was used to examine industry practices and the costs and benefits of the regulatory requirements for sanitary transportation of food; 2) expert elicitation was key for identifying risks and unique needs of rural and frontier areas with regard to the delivery of safe food; 3) USDA’s environmental testing requirements reduced incidence of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products; and 4) an innovative FDA’s message testing approach was developed to better understand comprehension of messages by the general public and increase efficiency of the process of conducting effective message testing.

W3-A.1  1:30 pm  Sanitary Transportation of Food: Examining Industry Practices and the Costs and Benefits of the FSMA Regulatory Requirements. Lange R*, Sassi A; U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Abstract: From the longer average time in transit, to decaying transportation infrastructure, to rapidly increasing food imports, when it comes to ensuring food safety during transport, the society is facing a wide range of factors that affect the safety of the food and feed supply. Poor practices increase the risks of microbial, bacterial, or physical contamination. These practices include the failure to protect food during transportation, to properly refrigerate food, and to adequately clean vehicles between loads, among others. The goal of the 2016 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Sanitary Transportation rule is to prevent such inadequate transportation and holding practices in order to reduce food safety risks. Specifically, the rule establishes the requirements for shippers, loaders, carriers by motor vehicle and rail, and receivers of food and feed. In examining the costs and benefits of this regulation, FDA faced several challenges, including incomplete information about industry’s best practices, shortages of available data, uncertainty about future volumes and composition of the food and feed supply, etc. In order to overcome these challenges and estimate the economic impact of the new regulatory requirements, a variety of methods and creative approaches was used to inform the cost and benefits of this regulation. We’ll also discuss lessons learned that could be helpful in conducting the retrospective analysis of this rule in the future.

W3-A.2  1:50 pm  Delivery of Safe Food to Rural and Frontier Areas: Examination of Gaps and Constraints. Sertkaya A, Ackerley N, Ertis D*, Grayson P, Vardon P, Sassi A; Eastern Research Group, Inc.; Eastern Research Group, Inc.; Eastern Research Group, Inc.; Eastern Research Group, Inc.; U.S. Food and Drug Administration; U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Abstract: The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA) required a study of the transportation of food for human consumption in the United States, including transportation by air, that includes an examination of the unique needs of rural and frontier (R/F) areas with regard to the delivery of safe food. For that purpose, we designed and implemented an expert elicitation to assess gaps and constraints of the transportation distribution logistics that may limit certain food types from being delivered to R/F communities, or that may affect the ability of the system to deliver safe food to these areas. On the one hand, we found that lack of or poor infrastructure (e.g., poor roads, no airport, no cellular/GPS network, etc.) and insufficient employee training appear most likely to have the greatest impact on the safe delivery of foods to R/F areas. On the other hand, the failure to achieve sanitary food transportation is most often the result of poor planning, training, follow-through, and/or carrier selection, regardless of shipping destination. Although it might be more expensive to transport foods into smaller market areas, it is possible to do so safely with the proper equipment.

W3-A.3  2:10 pm  The Economic Impact of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Environmental Testing Requirements to Reduce the Incidence of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry Products. Minor T, Parrett M*; U.S. Department of Agriculture; U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Abstract: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a proposed rule in February 2001 titled “Performance Standards for the Production of Processed Meat and Poultry Products”. Among other things, this rule proposed environmental testing requirements aimed at reducing the occurrence of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. In June 2003, in the wake of recent outbreaks of foodborne listeriosis (the infection caused by eating food contaminated with the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes), combined with recent recalls of meat and poultry products adulterated by Listeria monocytogenes, the USDA issued an interim final rule (effective October 2003) finalizing the previously proposed Listeria monocytogenes environmental testing requirements. In this paper, we test using a difference-in-differences approach whether the proposed and final Listeria monocytogenes environmental testing requirements decreased the number of meat-related listeriosis illnesses. To do this, we use novel 1998-2008 data on foodborne illnesses and outbreaks by commodity and pathogen collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and compiled by Painter et al. (Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2013). Our results tentatively reveal no effect of the final requirements, but that the proposed requirements reduced the number of meat-related listeriosis illnesses by roughly 10 per year. This finding is consistent with existing evidence which suggests that the public responds to proposed rules (e.g., Strom, The New York Times, 2012; Thrasher, Business Insider, 2013; Minor and Parrett, Agricultural Economics, 2016).

W3-A.4  2:30 pm  FDA’s Internal Message Testing Network: An Innovative Approach to Risk Communication. Weinberg J*, Lappin B; U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Abstract: Federal health agencies have an ongoing need to communicate clear messages to healthcare professionals and the public, but there are often no resources and insufficient time for formal message testing. The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) required approval to conduct testing with more than nine members of the public is lengthy, which is problematic when needing to rapidly communicate about emerging risks. The PRA, however, does not apply to collecting information from Federal employees when it applies to the context of their work. To conduct message testing without the need for additional financial resources and within tight timelines, we created an internal message testing network at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This network helps connect FDA’s communicators with over 800 employee volunteers who are willing to test messages and serve as a proxy for target audiences. Our network is comprised of a diverse array of staff, including healthcare professionals. We conduct cognitive interviews with network members to understand their comprehension of messages. We then qualitatively analyze the interview data and provide FDA communicators with recommendations on how to improve their messages. FDA’s internal message testing network has enabled the agency to improve its messages in a timely manner. Although testing with employees is no substitute for more rigorous testing, it successfully uncovers basic flaws in messages. Internal testing has increased the clarity and visual appeal of FDA messages. Internal testing results have led to the agency’s use of enhanced graphics, more user-friendly web pages, and improved labeling of regulated products.

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