A multifactorial risk prioritization framework for foodborne pathogens

Juliana Martins Ruzante, Valerie J. Davidson, Julie Caswell, Aamir Fazil, John A.L. Cranfield, Spencer J. Henson, Sven M. Anders, Claudia Schmidt, Jeffrey M. Farber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


We develop a prioritization framework for foodborne risks that considers public health impact as well as three other factors (market impact, consumer risk acceptance and perception, and social sensitivity). Canadian case studies are presented for six pathogen-food combinations: Campylobacter spp. in chicken; Salmonella spp. in chicken and spinach; Escherichia coli O157 in spinach and beef; and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meats. Public health impact is measured by disability-adjusted life years and the cost of illness. Market impact is quantified by the economic importance of the domestic market. Likert-type scales are used to capture consumer perception and acceptance of risk and social sensitivity to impacts on vulnerable consumer groups and industries. Risk ranking is facilitated through the development of a knowledge database presented in the format of info cards and the use of multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) to aggregate the four factors. Three scenarios representing different stakeholders illustrate the use of MCDA to arrive at rankings of pathogen-food combinations that reflect different criteria weights. The framework provides a flexible instrument to support policymakers in complex risk prioritization decision making when different stakeholder groups are involved and when multiple pathogen-food combinations are compared.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-742
Number of pages19
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


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