Evaluating Hazards

Once the team has identified hazards, members will decide which of those hazards present a risk to consumers and require a preventive control. This decision should consider:

  • Severity of the illness or injury
  • Likelihood of occurrence

Evaluating severity requires consideration of:

  • The magnitude and duration of the illness or injury
  • The possible impact of secondary problems
  • The susceptibility of intended customers to foodborne illness (e.g., children versus adults)

Evaluating likelihood of occurrence requires consideration of:

  • Data from past foodborne illness outbreaks
  • Recall data from similar products
  • Information in the scientific literature
  • Historical information in the establishment
  • Regulatory guidance
  • Trade association information
  • University extension documents

The decision about whether a hazard warrants preventive controls often requires outside expertise or reference from hazard guides that are available for many foods.