A Multi-Factorial Risk Prioritization Framework for Food-Borne Pathogens

University of Massachusetts Department of Economics Working Paper No. 2007-8

47 Pages Posted: 30 May 2007

See all articles by Spencer Henson

Spencer Henson

University of Guelph - Department of Agricultural Economics and Business

Julie A. Caswell

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

John A. L. Cranfield

University of Guelph - Department of Agricultural Economics and Business

Aamir Fazil

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Valerie Davidson

University of Guelph - School of Engineering

Sven Anders

University of Alberta

Claudia Schmidt

University of Guelph - Ontario Agricultural College

Date Written: May 2007

Abstract

To lower the incidence of human food-borne disease, experts and stakeholders have urged the development of a science- and risk-based management system in which food-borne hazards are analyzed and prioritized. A literature review shows that most approaches to risk prioritization developed to date are based on measures of health outcomes and do not systematically account for other factors that may be important to decision making.

The Multi-Factorial Risk Prioritization Framework developed here considers four factors that may be important to risk managers: public health, consumer risk perceptions and acceptance, market-level impacts, and social sensitivity. The framework is based on the systematic organization and analysis of data on these multiple factors. The basic building block of the information structure is a three-dimensional cube based on pathogen-food-factor relationships. Each cell of the cube has an information card associated with it and data from the cube can be aggregated along different dimensions.

The framework is operationalized in three stages, with each stage adding another dimension to decision-making capacity. The first stage is the information cards themselves that provide systematic information that is not pre-processed or aggregated across factors. The second stage maps the information on the various information cards into cobweb diagrams that create a graphical profile of, for example, a food-pathogen combination with respect to each of the four risk prioritization factors. The third stage is formal multi-criteria decision analysis in which decision makers place explicit values on different criteria in order to develop risk priorities.

The Multi-Factorial Risk Prioritization Framework provides a flexible instrument that compares and contrasts risks along four dimensions. Use of the framework is an iterative process. It can be used to establish priorities across pathogens for a particular food, across foods for a particular pathogen and/or across specific food-pathogen combinations. This report provides a comprehensive conceptual paper that forms the basis for a wider process of consultation and for case studies applying the framework.

Keywords: risk analysis, risk prioritization, food-borne pathogens, benefits and costs

JEL Classification: I18, L51, Q00, K32, H11

Suggested Citation

Henson, Spencer and Caswell, Julie A. and Cranfield, John A. L. and Fazil, Aamir and Davidson, Valerie and Anders, Sven and Schmidt, Claudia, A Multi-Factorial Risk Prioritization Framework for Food-Borne Pathogens (May 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=989768 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.989768

Spencer Henson

University of Guelph - Department of Agricultural Economics and Business ( email )

Guelph, N1G 2W1, Ontario
Canada

Julie A. Caswell (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts, Amherst ( email )

Stockbridge Hall
80 Campus Center Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9246
United States
413-545-5735 (Phone)

John A. L. Cranfield

University of Guelph - Department of Agricultural Economics and Business ( email )

Guelph, N1G 2W1, Ontario
Canada

Aamir Fazil

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Valerie Davidson

University of Guelph - School of Engineering ( email )

Guelph, Ontario
Canada

Sven Anders

University of Alberta ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta
Canada

Claudia Schmidt

University of Guelph - Ontario Agricultural College ( email )

Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1
Canada

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