Definitions of risk analysis terms related to food safety
(Excerpted from the Procedural Manual of the Codex Alimentarius Commission - Twelfth Edition)
Definitions of risk analysis terms related to food safety*
Hazard: A biological, chemical or physical agent in, or condition of, food with the potential to cause an adverse health effect.
Risk: A function of the probability of an adverse health effect and the severity of that effect, consequential to a hazard(s) in food.
Risk Analysis: A process consisting of three components: risk assessment, risk management and risk communication.
Risk Assessment: A scientifically based process consisting of the following steps: (i) hazard identification, (ii) hazard characterization, (iii) exposure assessment, and (iv) risk characterization.
Hazard Identification: The identification of biological, chemical, and physical agents capable of causing adverse health effects and which may be present in a particular food or group of foods.
Hazard Characterization: The qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of the nature of the adverse health effects associated with biological, chemical and physical agents which may be present in food. For chemical agents, a dose-response assessment should be performed. For biological or physical agents, a dose-response assessment should be performed if the data are obtainable.
Dose-Response Assessment: The determination of the relationship between the magnitude of exposure (dose) to a chemical, biological or physical agent and the severity and/or frequency of associated adverse health effects (response).
Exposure Assessment: The qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of the likely intake of biological, chemical, and physical agents via food as well as exposures from other sources if relevant.
Risk Characterization: The qualitative and/or quantitative estimation, including attendant uncertainties, of the probability of occurrence and severity of known or potential adverse health effects in a given population based on hazard identification, hazard characterization and exposure assessment.
Risk Management: The process, distinct from risk assessment, of weighing policy alternatives, in consultation with all interested parties, considering risk assessment and other factors relevant for the health protection of consumers and for the promotion of fair trade practices, and, if needed, selecting appropriate prevention and control options.
Risk Communication: The interactive exchange of information and opinions throughout the risk analysis process concerning hazards and risks, risk-related factors and risk perceptions, among risk assessors, risk managers, consumers, industry, the academic community and other interested parties, including the explanation of risk assessment findings and the basis of risk management decisions.
*These Definitions are proposed on an interim basis: they are subject to modification in the light of developments in the science of risk analysis and as a result of efforts to harmonize similar definitions across various disciplines.