Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Risk-assessment policies

Funded under: FP7-KBBE


This project has examined food safety risk assessment policy (RAP)-making at the global level (in the Codex Alimentarius Commission and its joint FAO/WHO expert advisory committees) in the USA, the UK, Germany, Japan and Argentina, in relation to chemical risks and to risks from GM foods and crops. Our research shows that RAP can be understood as comprising 3 considerations that condition the ways in which risk assessments (RAs) are framed, conducted and reported. Procedural RAPs are concerned with the responsibilities of risk assessors (RA) and the processes by which risk RAs are conducted. Substantive RAP issues are concerned with delineating which potential changes and effects are included within or outside their scope. Interpretative RAP issues are concerned with the ways in which data are interpreted. Data and documents do not interpret themselves; interpretation often involves judgements and assumptions. Often, when different RA reach different conclusions, they do so because they are adopting distinct RAPs rather than because some committees provide more or less scientific answers than others. They do not provide conflicting answers to common and agreed sets of questions concerning shared and agreed bodies of evidence. Often they are answering different questions because they make different RAP assumptions and are considering different sets of data. Even when the sets of questions and data coincide, different RAP assumptions may entail interpretation in different ways. Making a wider range of RAP issues explicit, and deciding them in transparent ways, can provide resources to address disputes, both within and across jurisdictions. Some RAP issues have been explicitly addressed in all jurisdictions studied but only rarely they are fully acknowledged, and decided by risk managers (RM) in consultation with all relevant stakeholders previous to the conduct of RAs. Only sometimes are they addressed in transparent or accountable ways.

Additional information

Authors: MILLSTONE E, SPRU, The Freeman Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton (UK);VAN ZWANENBERG P, FLACSO, Buenos Aires (AR);LEVIDOW L, Open University, London (UK);SPÖK A, IFZ, Graz (AT);HIRAKAWA H, Osaka University, Osaka (JP);MATSUO M, University of Tokyo, Tokyo (JP)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 23259EN (2008), 161 pp. Free of charge
Availability: (Catalogue Number: LF-NA-23259-EN-C)
ISBN: ISBN: 978-92-79-07738-8
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