Risk Analysis

Food Standard and Quality Control

Lesson 32 : World Trade Organization

Risk Analysis

There are two articles of SPS agreement that deals with the risk analysis

  1. Article 5 of the Agreement covers assessment of risk and determination of the appropriate level of SPS protection.
  2. Article 9 of the SPS Agreement defines the obligation of developed countries to assist less developed countries to improve their food safety systems.

What is risk
Risk is the probability that a hazard will turn into a disaster. Risk is the likelihood of disease/ injury/harm/damage/loss and the severity of that /injury/harm/damage/loss. Vulnerability and hazards are not dangerous, taken separately. But if they come together, they become a risk or, in other words, the probability that a disaster will happen.

Why Risk Assessment

  • Comply with SPS Agreement
  • Inform Decision Makers
  • Inform Stake Holders
  • Inform Trading Partners
  • Comply with National/Local Regulations

Components of risk analysis
As a structured decision-making process, risk analysis includes three distinct but closely connected components: risk management, risk assessment and risk communication (see Figure below). Each of these components plays an essential and complementary role in the risk analysis process. Although, risk management and risk communication tended to receive less attention than risk assessment in the past, it is important to stress that risk analysis will only be effective when all three components are successfully integrated.

Risk analysis terminology

Risk analysis: A process consisting of three components: risk assessment, risk management and risk communication.
Risk assessment A scientifically based process consisting of the following steps: i) hazard identification; ii) hazard characterization; iii) exposure assessment; and iv) risk characterization.

Risk management: The process, distinct from risk assessment, of weighing policy alternatives in consultation with all interested parties, considering risk assessment and other factors relevant for the health protection of consumers and for the promotion of fair trade practices, and, if needed, selecting appropriate prevention and control options.

Risk communication: The interactive exchange of information and opinions throughout the risk analysis process concerning risk, risk-related factors and risk perceptions, among risk assessors, risk managers, consumers, industry, the academic community and other interested parties, including the explanation of risk assessment findings and the basis of risk management decisions.

The risk analysis process:
Risk analysis provides food safety regulators with the information and evidence they need for effective decision-making. The process normally begins with defining the problem, articulates the goals of the risk analysis and defines the questions to be answered by the risk assessment. The science-based tasks of ‘measuring’ and ‘describing’ the nature of the risk being analysed (i.e. risk characterization) are performed during the risk assessment. Risk management and assessment are performed within an open and transparent environment based on communication and dialogue. Risk communication encompasses an interactive exchange of information and opinions among risk managers, risk assessors, the risk analysis team, consumers and other stakeholders. The process often culminates with the implementation and continuous monitoring of a course of action by risk managers.

Risk Analysis Methods

Last modified: Thursday, 22 March 2012, 7:59 AM