Date of this Version
Food and Chemical Toxicology 67 (2014) 277–287
Risk assessment describes the impact of a particular hazard as a function of dose and exposure. It forms the foundation of risk management and contributes to the overall decision-making process, but is not its endpoint. This paper outlines a risk analysis framework to underpin decision-making in the area of allergen cross-contact. Specifically, it identifies challenges relevant to each component of the risk analysis: risk assessment (data gaps and output interpretation); risk management (clear and realistic objectives); and risk communication (clear articulation of risk and benefit). Translation of the outputs from risk assessment models into risk management measures must be informed by a clear understanding of the model outputs and their limitations. This will lead to feasible and achievable risk management objectives, grounded in a level of risk accepted by the different stakeholders, thereby avoiding potential unintended detrimental consequences. Clear, consistent and trustworthy communications actively involving all stakeholders underpin these objectives. The conclusions, integrating the perspectives of different stakeholders, offer a vision where clear, science-based benchmarks form the basis of allergen management and labelling, cutting through the current confusion and uncertainty. Finally, the paper recognises that the proposed framework must be adaptable to new and emerging evidence.