ABSTRACT: A practical approach was used to achieve specified food safety objectives (FSOs) by incorporating risk assessment methodology. A series of cross-contamination scenarios at the retail level were evaluated in a spreadsheet and ranked according to their level of risk, and the degree to which they exceeded an FSO for Listeria monocytogenes (100 CFU/g) was determined. Percentiles and analyses of variance were used to identify which scenarios would be most likely not to achieve the FSO. It was also possible to incorporate into the model the effect of additional risk management interventions (e.g., hand washing method) by using "what if" scenarios analysis. The highest risk corresponded to the use of the same gloves to handle contaminated meat and then sliced ham compared with the safer method of using different gloves to handle each product. Nevertheless, in all scenarios bacterial concentrations could be higher than 10(8) CFU/g. A significant lack of knowledge regarding the transfer rates of L. monocytogenes was revealed, which provided the model with an important uncertainty component. The "what if" scenarios analysis based on the scenario representing handling food with bare hands followed by hand washing (scenario 2) revealed that the hand washing procedure had less impact than expected. This study illustrates the use of scenarios to model the most effective food processes and thus provide risk managers with appropriate information on which to base their decisions.
Journal of food protection 11/2006; 69(10):2384-94. · 1.94 Impact Factor