Med. Weter. 68 (7), 397-401, 2012

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Ziętek-Barszcz A., Bocian Ł., Stolarek A., Miechowicz B..
Microbiological risk assessment: Exposure assessment and risk characterization
The final result of a comprehensive microbiological risk assessment should be the estimation of a probability and severity of adverse health effects that could occur in the population. Risk assessment requires the use of high quality data so that the assessment results could enable risk managers to take appropriate action at the appropriate moment. In the previous publication the first two stages of microbiological risk assessment were shown, i.e. hazard identification and hazard characterization. The purpose of this publication is to present the other two steps of risk assessment, i.e. exposure assessment and risk characterization. Exposure assessment describes the likelihood of exposure to biological, chemical and physical hazards with the potential to cause adverse health effects in humans and animals. In the case of microbiological risk assessment, exposure assessment should establish the concentration of a pathogenic agent in food for specific groups of consumers, as well as all possible pathways of exposure. On the other hand, risk characterization should establish qualitatively and/or quantitatively, with associated uncertainties, the likelihood and severity of known or potential adverse effects in a given population. Risk characterization is based on the integration of data collected during the previous stages of risk assessment in order to provide a comprehensive risk estimate. .
Key words: risk assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization