FSIS sets public meeting on risk analysis

Oct 28, 2003 (CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) plans to hold a meeting Nov 13 to get the public's thoughts on how it analyzes risk.

Because risk analysis plays an important role in its work, the FSIS has prepared a report outlining its risk-analysis process and defining the role of various participants, the agency said in a news release. The "risk analysis standard operating procedures" document is posted on the FSIS Web site (see link below).

The meeting will provide a forum for experts from government, academia, industry, and consumer groups to discuss "how the three components of the risk analysis framework—risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication—are used to inform and implement risk management decisions," the FSIS said. The meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC.

The meeting will include sessions on the elements of risk analysis, the FSIS risk-analysis process, and the use of standard procedures in risk analysis. Officials will use examples of past risk assessments to illustrate the process. After the sessions, a panel of experts will comment on key issues.

The agency has developed a list of questions on which it seeks help. For example, officials want suggestions on how they can "balance the need for transparency, stakeholder involvement and peer review with the need for timely scientific guidance."

Recent risk assessments completed by the FSIS include those concerning Salmonella enteritidis in eggs, Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ground beef, and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. These were used to develop risk-management strategies. In addition, the agency recently set up a Food Safety Risk Assessment Committee to enhance coordination and communication among USDA agencies and promote sound risk assessments.

Those planning to attend the meeting can register on site, but they are encouraged to pre-register as soon as possible by contacting Mary Harris at 202-690-6497 or mary.harris@fsis.usda.gov. The FSIS will take comments on the risk analysis standard operating procedures document until Dec 27 (see news release link below for address).

See also:

FSIS news release
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/news/2003/riskmeet.htm

Risk analysis standard operating procedures document
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/RASOPs.pdf

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