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The state of knowledge and technology defines what is achievable through the application of current science.
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.
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.
The term “risk-based” implies the existence of an underlying science base; however, it goes a step beyond to encompass use of the tools of risk and decision analysis to create systems that optimize the ability to prevent and control foodborne illness and improve public health.
This chapter focuses on how this type of risk-based system might be constructed and implemented to enable the FDA to deal more effectively with food safety problems. [It] require[s] identification of the greatest public health needs through surveillance and risk analysis.
Thus, both the relative risks and benefits must be considered in allocating resources. 93) If the primary objective of the food safety system is to reduce the burden of disease, success requires risk-based resource allocation.
The food safety system must make the best possible use of its resources to reduce the disease burden.
In the area of food safety, a process is needed for allocating resources based on public health data and information.
Risk managers must consider a wide variety of factors in their decision-making process, including the needs and values of a diverse set of stakeholders, which may diverge even with respect to public health.