Regulatory Industrial And International Implications

As pointed out by Kaferstein et al. (1997), the globalization of trade requires coordination among international regulatory and health protection authorities. Food safety standards, recognized by the WTO, place greater dependence and emphasis on scientific risk assessments. Hazard characterization will remain a key component of the risk assessment (NACMCF, 1998b).

The International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) has proposed the use of the Food Safety Objective (FSO) as a management tool to control the risk of foodborne illness. The FSO reflects the frequency or maximum concentration of a microbiological hazard in a food that is considered acceptable for consumer protection. FSOs are broader in scope than microbiological criteria. FSOs link risk assessment and risk management processes and establish control measures (ICMSF, 1998). The hazard characterization process will contribute information toward establishing the FSO.

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