Risk Assessment of Irradiated Foods
The analytical tools of risk assessment, as applied to chemicals and radiation, have assumed a critical role in decision making in the United States. Although risk assessment might appear to be an arcane subject, every day the nation's public health, environmental resources, and economic well-being are affected by the outcomes of risk assessment. However, risk assessment is not necessarily the solution for all of the problems in policy making. For example, it is the responsibility of the risk manager to establish a process that engenders public trust and credibility. Estimation and, hence, control of microbiological hazards presented by foods, though compounded by biological diversity and variability, are nonetheless less beset by the problems of inaccuracy that exist in relation to adverse effects from chemical in foods. The impacts of the hazards posed by microbiological contamination of foods are generally better defined. Unfortunately, incidents are rather common, in sharp contrast to those resulting from exposure to chemical food additives, allowing better risk assessment. Risk can be defined in different ways. The analysis of risk involves the description of the discharge of the risk agent, its transport and fate in an environmental media (i.e., air, soil, food, and water), and any associated human exposure. Human health risks are then calculated based on data and models that relate exposures to risk. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.