A qualitative risk assessment approach for Swiss dairy products: opportunities and limitations

Menendez Gonzalez, S.; Hartnack, S.; Berger, T.; Doherr, M.; Breidenbach, E. (2011). A qualitative risk assessment approach for Swiss dairy products: opportunities and limitations. Zoonoses and public health, 58(3), pp. 209-19. Berlin: Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2010.01341.x

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Switzerland implemented a risk-based monitoring of Swiss dairy products in 2002 based on a risk assessment (RA) that considered the probability of exceeding a microbiological limit value set by law. A new RA was launched in 2007 to review and further develop the previous assessment, and to make recommendations for future risk-based monitoring according to current risks. The resulting qualitative RA was designed to ascertain the risk to human health from the consumption of Swiss dairy products. The products and microbial hazards to be considered in the RA were determined based on a risk profile. The hazards included Campylobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, coagulase-positive staphylococci and Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin. The release assessment considered the prevalence of the hazards in bulk milk samples, the influence of the process parameters on the microorganisms, and the influence of the type of dairy. The exposure assessment was linked to the production volume. An overall probability was estimated combining the probabilities of release and exposure for each combination of hazard, dairy product and type of dairy. This overall probability represents the likelihood of a product from a certain type of dairy exceeding the microbiological limit value and being passed on to the consumer. The consequences could not be fully assessed due to lack of detailed information on the number of disease cases caused by the consumption of dairy products. The results were expressed as a ranking of overall probabilities. Finally, recommendations for the design of the risk-based monitoring programme and for filling the identified data gaps were given. The aims of this work were (i) to present the qualitative RA approach for Swiss dairy products, which could be adapted to other settings and (ii) to discuss the opportunities and limitations of the qualitative method.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Experimental Clinical Research
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > DVK - Clinical Research (discontinued)

UniBE Contributor:

Menéndez, Sonia and Doherr, Marcus








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:32

Last Modified:

03 Feb 2015 09:12

Publisher DOI:


Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/12317 (FactScience: 218639)

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