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Risk assessment policy

‘Risk assessment’ is conducted as a disciplined 4 step process, which attempts to use the best available scientific knowledge to:

  • identify hazards - potential biological, chemical, and physical problems which may cause illness. Most hazards tend to be microorganisms and their toxins
  • characterise hazards - determine the extent of the effect on human health these hazards have
  • assess exposure - the likelihood that a consumer will be exposed to the hazards, based on the amount of food consumed and the probability of the hazards being present in the food
  • characterise risk - bring all this information together to determine the overall risk of the food and potentially identify control measures to minimise risk.


The NSW Food Authority has developed a risk assessment policy to ensure the assessment work it undertakes is systematic, complete, unbiased and transparent.

Table of contents
Introduction - establishing a risk assessment policy
A functional separation of risk assessment and risk management
- Types of risk assessment
- Scope and purpose
- Forming the risk assessment team and  using expert knowledge
The Authority’s process for undertaking risk assessment
- Sources of data
- Risk assessment tools
- Handling uncertainty
- Presentation of risk assessment outcomes
- Communication of outcomes
How the Authority will use risk assessment outcomes
- The development of food safety standards
- Responding to urgent incidents
- Monitoring control measures
Reviewing and updating risk assessments
- Peer review
- A system for updating risk assessment outcomes