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Risk-based Official Control of the Food Chain

Report from the project: "Principles for risk-orientation of official control of food, feed, animal health and animal welfare"

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The expectations of official control are high, and resources are limited. What is most important in conducting such control? How can we prioritise between risks which are not directly comparable? Which approach provides most safety, relative to resource allocation? Risk categorisation is a tool to make such assessments more explicit, fact-based and transparent. The quality of risk management can never be better than the available knowledge of the risks. Prioritisation of official control must be based on knowledge available at any given time, and not on the basis of knowledge that is being worked towards obtaining in the future. The report presents a new model that incorporates the following knowledge types into a system, with a view to improving resource use in official control.- Knowledge of the life-cycles of products, processes and services, - Knowledge of the products, processes and services of different industries, - Knowledge of the individual traders. The model has been developed for prioritising control of the various risks in the food chain, but could also be suitable, and used for, prioritising of control of other risk types.

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Survey of hazards in the food chain

As the basis for risk classification of industries (Chapter 9), we recommend that an initial survey and analysis is conducted of the hazards that are important in leading to official control or supervision in the different links in the chain, and that this is correlated with the various industries. Such analyses do not need to be conducted often; only when there have been significant structural alterations in the chain, or new hazards have been introduced. Nevertheless, it is vital that these analyses are continually maintained, so that new knowledge or information is incorporated as it emerges through industry assessments (Chapter 9).

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