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Muller B.,Landesinstitut Spezialeinheit Lebensmittelsicherheit | Verhaelen K.,Landesinstitut Spezialeinheit Lebensmittelsicherheit | Eberlein V.,Landesinstitut Spezialeinheit Lebensmittelsicherheit | Ulker Celik B.,Landesinstitut Spezialeinheit Lebensmittelsicherheit | And 6 more authors.
Journal fur Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit | Year: 2015

Recent and past food scandals highlight the urgent need for food safety authorities to anticipate future risks in order to enable improved and proactive response mechanisms. With this goal in mind, the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority (LGL) has established an early warning system aimed at early identification of potential health risks and fraudulent practices in the food sector. The early warning approach allows intervention at different stages of risk development. On the one hand, the scanning of a broad area of the food production chain (horizon scanning) may enable prospective risk identification. To this end, relevant factors of influence (drivers) need to be identified, observed and analyzed. On the other hand, the retrospective analysis of case studies may unravel novel cause-effect associations that could be transferred to other products and production technologies, possibly leading to the identification of new drivers (root cause analysis). Additionally, various datasets emanating from food safety authorities, for example data from the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and from Bavarian-wide laboratory analyses and food business inspections, will be closely observed and analyzed. The multidisciplinary character of the LGL has proven to be essential for the realization of the early warning approach, the analysis of inflowing data and implementation of consequences such as food business inspections and sampling for analysis. This article details the objectives and methodical approaches of the project. The acquisition of systematically compiled information as well as its analysis and assessment are comprehensively described. The early warning system presented here has already contributed significantly to the risk-oriented food inspection practiced to date, by integrating novel risk-relevant aspects. © 2015 Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL)

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