Prioritising the risk of foodborne zoonoses using a quantitative approach: application to foodborne bacterial hazards in pork and beef
Foodborne zoonoses are a major public health concern. Risk analysis, which underpins international policies on food safety and trade in foodstuffs of animal origin, requires that an assessment be made of the occurrence and severity of human cases for each type of foodstuff. However, the tools currently available for quantifying risks are only capable of estimating the consequences of certain diseases. This article proposes an alternative quantitative approach for prioritising the risk of foodborne zoonoses, based on the creation of a typology of hazards and calculating a risk score. A combination of average hospitalisation and mortality rates is used to quantify the severity of human cases. By calculating the percentage of food-associated cases it is possible to estimate the incidence of cases linked specifically with the foodstuff being assessed. This method is illustrated by applying it to bacterial zoonotic hazards in pork and beef and provides a support tool for veterinary public health decision-makers.