We developed a simple tool for ranking chemical hazard-food pairs to assist policy makers and risk managers selecting the hazard-food pairs that deserve more attention and need to be monitored during food safety inspections. The tool is based on the derivation of a "Priority Index" (PI) that results from the ratio of the potency of the hazard and the consumer exposure. The potency corresponds to a toxicity reference value of the hazard, whereas the exposure results from the combination of the concentration of the hazard in the food, and the food consumption. Tool's assumptions and limitations are demonstrated and discussed by ranking a dataset of 13 mycotoxins in 26 food items routinely analyzed in Switzerland. The presented ranking of mycotoxin-food pairs has to be considered as relative due to scarce exposure data availability, and uncertainties in toxicity reference values. However, this representative example allows demonstrating the simplicity and the ability of the PI tool to prioritize chemical hazard-food pairs.
- Food safety
- Risk management