Methodological quality assessment of review articles evaluating interventions to improve microbial food safety

Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease (Impact Factor: 2.09). 02/2006; 3(4):447-56. DOI: 10.1089/fpd.2006.3.447
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Review articles are a means of summarizing the potentially vast volume of research on a topic. However, the methodological quality of review articles varies, and reviews on the same topic may reach different conclusions. We evaluated 65 review articles published between 2000 and 2005 that addressed the effectiveness of microbial food safety interventions, using criteria for methodological soundness developed in the medical field. Overall, the methodological quality of the review articles was poor, with none of the reviews providing information on the method of locating primary research studies or the inclusion/exclusion criteria for selecting primary studies. None of the reviews included a critical appraisal of the methodological quality of the primary studies. Less than half of the reviews stated a focused research question, explored possible reasons for differences in the results of primary studies, discussed the generalizability of results, or proposed directions for future research. There is a need to improve the methodological quality of review articles on microbial food safety interventions if they are to be of use in policy and decision making.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The demand surge for assured food safety and quality in livestock products among consumers in developing countries in particular has been phenomenal. The present paper examines consumers' preferences and willingness to pay for beef food safety assurance labels in the Kumasi Metropolis and Sunyani Municipality of Ghana. Consumers' in both Kumasi and Sunyani mainly rely on beef attributes which assures them of their safety. Key attributes include hygienic condition of the shopping environment, excellent and attractive packaging that minimizes contamination, leanness and certification of beef products for safety and quality. Therefore, guaranteed food safety information and attributes should emerge as a new index and basis for future trade in the beef industry. Preference heterogeneity exists among consumers in Kumasi Metropolis and Sunyani Municipality for verified animal health status, food safety inspection and certification and nutritional label. Hence, it is important for beef investors, government and NGO's to segment consumers into different classes when designing strategies to mitigate unsafe beef production, marketing and consumption. Higher willingness to pay exists for verified animal health stamp in both Kumasi and Sunyani compared to assured nutritional label, food and drugs board food safety certification license. Willingness to pay estimates in Kumasi were higher for assured nutritional label, food and drugs board food safety certification license compared to Sunyani. Consumer preferences for food safety inspection and certification, and nutritional label are explained by age, income and education in Sunyani Municipality whereas preferences for verified animal health status, food safety inspection and certification, and nutritional label are influenced by age, income, education and gender in Kumasi Metropolis. Albeit the impact of gender and age are negative for verified animal health status and food safety certification license in both locations. Therefore, the use of selective demographic targeting to maintain or build strong food safety and quality measures should be seen as a reality by policy makers and investors in the beef industry. Minimizing microbial, chemical and physical food contamination and incidents of food safety in Kumasi and Sunyani requires adoption of strict certification and inspections starting from the health status of animals to be slaughtered to the final product with proper labeling information for consumers, combined with strict sanitary inspections at the shopping or selling place. Also, sensitization of women on food safety practices, handling and violation of food safety is very essential in Kumasi and Sunyani.
    Food Control 12/2014; 46:152–159. DOI:10.1016/j.foodcont.2014.05.019 · 2.82 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article is the first in a series of six articles related to systematic reviews in animal agriculture and veterinary medicine. In this article, we overview the methodology of systematic reviews and provide a discussion of their use. Systematic reviews differ qualitatively from traditional reviews by explicitly defining a specific review question, employing methods to reduce bias in the selection and inclusion of studies that address the review question (including a systematic and specified search strategy, and selection of studies based on explicit eligibility criteria), an assessment of the risk of bias for included studies and objectively summarizing the results qualitatively or quantitatively (i.e. via meta-analysis). Systematic reviews have been widely used to address human healthcare questions and are increasingly being used in veterinary medicine. Systematic reviews can provide veterinarians and other decision-makers with a scientifically defensible summary of the current state of knowledge on a topic without the need for the end-user to read the vast amount of primary research related to that topic.
    Zoonoses and Public Health 06/2014; 61 Suppl S1:3-9. DOI:10.1111/zph.12128 · 2.07 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article is the third of six articles addressing systematic reviews in animal agriculture and veterinary medicine. This article provides an overview of clinical trials, both randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and challenge trials, where the disease outcome is deliberately induced by the investigator. RCTs are not the only study design used in systematic reviews, but are preferred when available as the gold standard for evaluating interventions under real-world conditions. RCTs are planned experiments, which involve diseased or at-risk study subjects and are designed to evaluate interventions (therapeutic treatments or preventive strategies, including antibiotics, vaccines, management practices, dietary changes, management changes or lifestyle changes). Key components of the RCT are the use of one or more comparison (control) groups and investigator control over intervention allocation. Important design features in RCTs include as follows: how the population is selected, approach to allocation of intervention and control group subjects, how allocation is concealed prior to enrolment of study subjects, how outcomes are defined, how allocation to group is concealed (blinding) and how withdrawals from the study are managed. Guidelines for reporting important features of RCTs have been published and are useful tools for writing, reviewing and reading reports of RCTs.
    Zoonoses and Public Health 06/2014; 61 Suppl S1:18-27. DOI:10.1111/zph.12126 · 2.07 Impact Factor