These reports have emphasized the importance of using the best available science to understand foodborne illness, including the identification of causative agents (chemicals, toxins, and microbes) and transmission pathways and the development of appropriate surveillance systems.As the science base has developed, attention over the last decade has increasingly turned to its application within a risk-based framework, with the ultimate goal of improving public health.
The state of knowledge and technology defines what is achievable through the application of current science.
Public resources can have the greatest favorable effect on public health if they are allocated in accordance with the combined analysis of risk assessment and technical feasibility….
More proactive activities might involve conducting research to address crucial unknowns, undertaking formalized quantitative risk assessment, identifying candidate mitigation strategies to prevent repeat incidents, and ensuring the implementation of those strategies.
Critical to both long- and short-term initiatives are improvements in cooperation with partners (see Chapters 4 and 7); efficient data collection, sharing, and analysis (Chapter 5); and communication with the public (Chapter 9).
Clearly, short- and long-term responsibilities coexist as the FDA seeks to both manage and prevent foodborne illness.
As noted earlier, the FDA has often been criticized as responding reactively to food problems.
This means focusing government effort on the greatest risks and the greatest opportunities to reduce risk, wherever they may arise.
It means adopting the interventions—presumably some combination of research, regulation, and education that will yield the greatest reduction in illness. 7) These previous documents go beyond the scope of traditional technical risk assessment by introducing such terms as “risk-based resource allocation” and “relative risk and benefit.” In its deliberations, the committee recognized the need to address risk analysis in the broader context of regu- latory decision-making processes and risk governance (see, for example, IRGC, 2005, 2009) to manage food safety.
These factors might include economic considerations, the controllability of risk, and the population affected.
The committee recognizes that such multidimensional comparisons are a highly challenging endeavor.