News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Participatory risk analysis: a new method for managing food safety in developing countries

A Vietnamese pork seller in a traditional 'wet' market: Participatory risk assessment can help to manage risk in food value chains in developing countries (photo credit: ILRI).

Food safety is a major concern in many developing countries where the informal ('traditional') sector dominates production and sale of food products and there are generally high levels of unsafe food.

Risk analysis – comprising risk assessment, risk management and risk communication – has emerged as a novel approach to assessing and managing risks in food value chains within developing-country contexts.

As opposed to the more 'traditional' approach of food safety management that focuses on food-borne hazards, participatory risk analysis focuses instead on risk, that is, the likelihood of occurrence of a hazard and the economic consequences, and how best that risk can be mitigated to provide consumers with assurance of food safety and quality.

At the recently concluded seventh international conference of the Asian Society of Agricultural Economists held on 13-15 October 2011 in Hanoi, Vietnam, the subject of participatory risk assessment featured during a parallel session, Food safety policy in developing country context: examples from case studies in livestock value chains, organized by agricultural economist Dr Lucy Lapar of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

The parallel session featured three presentations by scientists from ILRI's Market Opportunities theme on participatory risk assessment studies of the pork value chain in Nagaland, India; the dairy supply chain in Assam, India and the pork value chain in peri-urban Hanoi, Vietnam.

While each of the three studies had different objectives, they all used the common framework of participatory risk assessment to examine the risks to human health in livestock product value chains.

Risk-based food safety policies and regulations; increased consumer awareness on risk-mitigating practices (for example, boiling of raw milk before drinking it); and training and certification of informal sector pork and milk sellers are among the recommendations drawn from the studies. The Nagaland study also recommended the assessment of the economic impact of pork-borne disease on people and the pork sector.

You may also be interested in:
Risk assessment in the pork meat chain in Nagaland, India (Poster)

Innovative and participatory risk-based approaches to assess milk-safety in developing countries: a case study in North East India (Conference paper)

Participatory risk assessment of pork in Ha Noi and Ha Tay, Vietnam (Research Brief)

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