Lowering risk in food is a complex challenge, and is an area that government authorities and the food industry are ever-vigilant to address. Given negative impact food-borne illness can have on the population—such as sickness and, in some cases, death—minimizing risk at every turn is critical. The biggest challenge is examining the risk that exists along the many stages food products must go through to get from the farm to the table. EpiX Analytics, a consultancy that works with a wide range of industries to lower risk, utilized @RISK in a partnership with the Royal Veterinary College at University of London to launch a Postgraduate Certificate in Risk Analysis in Health and Food Safety.
Using Monte Carlo simulation, students were taught how to determine a range of possibilities, including the likelihood of bacterial contamination at different points of the food production chain, growth of bacteria in different conditions, conditions of transport and storage of food products, frequency of purchase/consumption of food products, portion of food product per person per meal or dose-response model for the bacteria found. Another lesson considered the cost-effectiveness of using seasonal vaccines on entire populations versus vaccinations used solely on individuals who are at a higher risk of infection.
It is gratifying to know that @RISK is being used to help train those who are doing work to benefit the overall health and well-being of people around the world.