US: Food safety and the perception of risk
Click here to read the full article from Food Safety News: In the latest issue of Food Safety Magazine published Nov. 3, 2015, there is an article about the terms “hazard analysis” and “risk assessment.” I wrote that article to highlight the fact that these terms, which have different origins but may have similar meanings, are not really the same and do not produce the same results.
Briefly, hazard analysis is the assessment of the hazards that may be associated with a food commodity in a particular food processing establishment, with the final output of finding out which hazards are “significant” and have to be addressed in a HACCP (hazard analysis critical control points) plan. Risk assessment is more complex and requires the use of more sophisticated data analysis to characterize the risk for a given pathogen/food commodity combination. These are just very brief distinctions in concepts, but these terms have been stretched to mean a few other things. Yet the results are different. Here I would like to further explain my reasoning and emphasize that the use of technical terms can be confusing because basic terms, such as “hazard” and “risk,” are sometimes not clear in our minds.