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Risk communication, modern informatics and situational awareness

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ANTON J. ALLDRICK
Campden BRI, Chipping Campden, United Kingdom

In common with many other business activities, modern food safety management relies on a risk-based approach to achieve its objective. This principle is recognised not only internationally (Codex Alimentarius Commission) but also in the legislation of many jurisdictions (e.g. United States, Food Safety Modernization Act; European Union, Regulation (EC) No 852/2004). Such an approach relies on an understanding of the hazard (risk assessment), establishment of measures to mitigate the likelihood of the hazard occurring as well as metrics to confirm their effectiveness (risk management) and finally risk communication. The process of risk communication goes further than simply a within- business operation and implies the acquisition and exchange of information and opinion amongst relevant stakeholders. Classically, one area of risk communication which has attracted considerable attention is the transmission of relevant information to the consumer. However, given the definition of risk communication provided above, the process is more complex and is integral to providing the knowledge which underpins successful risk assessment and management and thereby assuring food-safety.
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